Billionaire biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong has been accused of “catching and killing” a generic cancer treatment drug that would have competed with a drug from Celgene, a company where he was the largest shareholder.
Sorrento Therapeutics is demanding over $1 billion in damages from Soon-Shiong, who also owns the LA Times. The San Diego-based biotech company claims that he acquired the drug Cynviloq to prevent it from entering the market to ensure that breakthrough chemotherapy drug Abraxane continued to operate without any competition. Cynviloq is bioequivalent to Abraxane.
Shares in Sorrento Therapeutics increased dramatically after its announcement to pursue legal actions, jumping from 15 cents to $4.39. An SEC filing shows that Sorrento said it had filed two lawsuits against Soon-Shiong and organizations he controls.
The first alleges fraud and breach of contract in the purchase made by Soon-Shiong's Nant Pharma of Cynviloq. It is seeking over $1 billion in damages in addition to punitive damages. The second was filed at the Supreme Court of Los Angeles and relates to a joint venture between Sorrento and Soon-Shiong's firms called "Nantibody". The collaboration was intended to focus on creating new cancer-fighting immunotherapies.
Sorrento accuses the billionaire investor of the catching and killing of a cancer drug that—had it been brought to market as planned—would have saved patients, hospitals, and the United States government in excess of $1 billion”.