Blackstone Invests $125 Million in Nantpharma, A Nantworks Company
Company will become premier provider of bio-derived products and critically needed injectables of the highest quality
Los Angeles, CA, and New York, NY, July 24, 2012 – California-based NantWorks, LLC, announced today that a fund managed by Blackstone (NYSE: BX) has invested US$125 million in NantPharma, a NantWorks company whose products include high quality, biologically derived pharmaceuticals. NantPharma operates a number of drug manufacturing and research facilities around the country. In January 2012, it announced the acquisition and redevelopment of a former Pfizer facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a commitment to invest $85.5 million to produce critical care injectable and oncological drugs. The new plant is expected to become operational in 2015.
NantWorks and NantPharma Chairman, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, has previously founded two successful pharmaceutical companies addressing the unmet needs of critically ill patients. The injectable drug company he led, APP Pharmaceuticals, was the nation’s only safe source of heparin during the supply crisis in 2008, and his biopharmaceutical company, Abraxis Bioscience, developed the world’s first protein nanotechnology cancer drug transporter for breast cancer and now is in trials for pancreatic and lung cancer. Dr. Soon-Shiong sold these companies in 2008 and 2010, respectively, raising several billion dollars to pursue his vision of personalized medicine.
As part of the deal, Chinh E. Chu and Anjan Mukherjee, Blackstone Senior Managing Directors, and Arthur J. Higgins from Blackstone’s dedicated healthcare group, Blackstone Healthcare Partners, will join Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong on the NantPharma board. Mr. Higgins is a former Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer HealthCare AG, who led that company’s restructuring, including the acquisition of Schering AG and the over-the-counter medicines business of Roche. He is a former head of Abbott Laboratories’ pharmaceutical business in the United States, and a 34 year veteran of the pharmaceutical business.
“I am delighted that we will be building this company together with Blackstone and with seasoned executives Chinh Chu, Anjan Mukherjee and Art Higgins,” said Dr. Soon-Shiong, welcoming the agreement. “Our country must have absolutely reliable sources of blood plasma products. The effective treatment for auto immune and other diseases will depend on this. We must have the highest quality standards for all biologically derived drugs. Safety is paramount with such products.”
“We must also enhance our capabilities to manufacture injectable and next generation drugs in America,” added Dr. Soon-Shiong, noting that since 2010 there has been a growing and alarming shortage of injectable drugs for cancer sufferers and other critically ill patients.
Chinh Chu and Anjan Mukherjee, who have led many of Blackstone’s investments in healthcare, welcomed the agreement with NantPharma: “We have followed Dr. Soon-Shiong’s extraordinary career with much interest for nearly a decade and we see great opportunity working together with him at the leading edge of the healthcare industry, both in this exciting venture and other initiatives.”
Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor, and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP served as legal counsel, to NantPharma and NantWorks in the transaction. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett served as legal counsel to Blackstone.
NantWorks, LLC, is a company founded and led by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. Its core mission is to converge a wide range of technologies to transform scientific discoveries, research and healthcare. It is building an integrated evidence-based, genomically-informed, personalized approach to the delivery of care and the development of next generation diagnostics and therapeutics. NantPharma is a NantWorks company specializing in pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. For more information, see www.nantworks.com.
Blackstone (NYSE: BX) is one of the world’s leading investment and advisory firms. Blackstone seeks to create positive economic impact and long-term value for its investors, the companies they invest in, the companies they advise and the broader global economy. Blackstone does this through the commitment of their extraordinary people and flexible capital. Their alternative asset management businesses include the management of private equity funds, real estate funds, hedge fund solutions, credit-oriented funds and closed-end mutual funds. Blackstone also provides various financial advisory services, including financial and strategic advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement services. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com.