Why NantKwest jumps today

What happened

Actions of the immunotherapy company against cancer NantKwest (NASDAQ: NK) they increased by 36.6% healthy starting with 11:20 EST, Monday morning. The actions of biotechnology are heading north today for two key reasons:

  1. Ahead of the opening bell, NantKwest announced a stock-to-stock merger agreement with private immunotherapy company ImmunityBio. Both companies are the children of billionaire surgeon Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.
  2. In a follow-up press release, ImmunityBio also announced that its IL-15 fusion protein, known as Anktiva, has passed into a phase II / III study for patients with invasive bladder cancer. non-muscle. The drug would have produced a complete response of 72% in this indication difficult to treat after 12 months of treatment.
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So what

Prior to this merger agreement, NantKwest’s attempt to become a leader in immuno-oncology through its natural killer cell therapy platform did not go as planned. In fact, the shares of biotechnology fell by almost 60% from the initial public offering (IPO) last Friday, all due to the lack of substantial progress in the clinic.

This much-needed merger agreement could give new life to NantKwest’s long-term prospects, however, as this combined immunotherapy entity will end up with 13 huge clinical activities in both oncology and infectious diseases.

Now what

It seems that the two companies expect the merger to close in the first half of 2021 – pending the approval of shareholders by the majority of non-affiliated shareholders of NantKwest. Upon closing, the new company will keep the ImmunityBio name and trade on Nasdaq stock exchange under the IBRX ticker.

Will this recently reworked biotechnological entity be a useful growth stock? Although more information has yet to be disclosed before a purchase, holding or sale decision can be properly assessed, this future company will have an impressively diverse immunotherapy pipeline. As such, it might be a good idea to watch this developing story carefully.