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Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRNE), an antibody-centric, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for cancer, said today that early this year it engaged financial advisors Guggenheim Securities and PJT Partners to assist the company in exploring and evaluating strategic alternatives. Several multi-billionaires have been taking turns in investing and divesting SRNE shares over the years. Sorrento is an antibody-centric, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Sorrento’s lead products are multiple late-stage biosimilar and biobetter antibodies, as well as clinical CAR-T therapies targeting solid tumors. The company was founded in 2006. “As part of the ongoing evaluation of our portfolio of assets we decided to engage industry leading firms to advise us on potential alternatives and strategies,” stated Dr. Henry Ji, president and CEO. “Although there are no assurances that the process we commenced will result in a transaction, we believe the expertise of both Guggenheim Securities and PJT Partners will provide us with the best ability to fully evaluate options to enhance shareholder value,” added Dr. Ji. By mid-day on May 10, 2016, Sorrento’s shares were down nearly 10%, trading at $5.63 (close to the $5.55 price per share of the company’s recent institutional private placements in Asia of up to $150 million), giving the company a market value of $216 million. Activist Investor and Billionaire David Bonderman’s Wildcat Capital Demands The move comes within a few days after Wildcat Capital Management LLC, whose clients hold an ownership stake of 6.5% of Sorrento’s common stock, submitted a letter demanding that Sorrento’s board replace the CEO, stop recently announced financing transactions, appoint three Wildcat nominees to the board, and initiate a sale process for the company. The letter was submitted on behalf of Wildcat Liquid Alpha LLC and the Bonderman Family LP. Wildcat Capital Management was founded in 2011 by Len Potter with the purpose of managing capital for the founding partner of TPG Capital, David Bonderman. According to Forbes, Bonderman has a current net worth of $2.5 billion. The firm manages assets for 16 underlying vehicles and a total of 42 individuals including David’s family and friends. The firm is a registered investment advisor, and has $1.79 billion in assets under management. Wildcat has offices in Texas and New York. TPG Capital (formerly Texas Pacific Group) now has over $70 billion under management, and is one of the world’s largest private equity investment firms. Strategic Collaboration and Investment by Billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Founder and CEO, NantWorks Separately, Los Angeles-based Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire biotechnology entrepreneur, and founder of his NantWorks health empire, has been Sorrento’s biggest strategic investor during the past few years, with a current equity stake of approximately 20%. According to Forbes, he has a current net worth of $11.9 billion. He is a South African-born American surgeon, medical researcher, businessman, philanthropist, and professor at University of California at Los Angeles. He has pioneered novel therapies for both diabetes and cancer, published over 100 scientific papers, and has over 95 issued patents on groundbreaking advancements spanning myriad fields. NantWorks is a convergence of next generation machine vision, object and voice recognition technologies, ultra-low power semiconductors, supercomputing, and advanced networks for the purpose of bringing the digital revolution to healthcare, commerce, and digital entertainment to an entirely new level. Since 2014, Nantworks has been engaged in a comprehensive ongoing global strategic collaboration with Sorrento, to jointly develop next generation immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and auto-immune diseases. Sorrento’s Recent Private Placements in Asia of Up to $150M In addition, last week Sorrento closed a $10 million private placement of common stock and warrants with Yuhan Corp. (KRX: 000100), one of the largest and most respected pharmaceutical companies in South Korea. “We recently formed the ImmuneOncia joint venture with Sorrento to focus on clinical development of innovative immuno-oncology antibodies originated from Sorrento’s G-MAB library. Our R&D team has been in close interaction with Sorrento’s R&D team and is deeply impressed by Sorrento’s industry-leading antibody and immunocellular technology platforms as well as its innovative immunotherapy product portfolios. We are very happy to participate in investing in Sorrento and look forward to grow with Sorrento to be major players in the rapidly expanding immunotherapy field,” said Jung Hee Lee, president and CEO of Yuhan Corp. This was the first tranche of a larger institutional private placement of up to $150 million led by Ally Bridge Group (ABG), a Hong Kong-based healthcare private equity firm, with the participation of Sorrento’s strategic corporate partner Yuhan, announced on April 4. The agreed upon separate private placements consist of newly issued common stock at $5.55 per share and warrants with an exercise price of $8.50 per share. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to occur by the end of May 2016. “There is no doubt that Sorrento has a unique, comprehensive portfolio of innovative antibody technologies with a number of cutting-edge immunotherapy programs,” says Frank Yu, founder of ABG. “Sorrento has a proven track record in forging partnerships on a global basis, and more importantly, monetizing its assets, such as in the case of Cynviloq for a potential value of up to USD1.3 billion. ABG has been working closely with Sorrento in key areas of global expansion, strategic partnerships, and financing.” Ally Bridge Group (ABG) is a global healthcare-focused investment group, founded and led by Frank Yu (formerly a managing director of Goldman Sachs and Och-Ziff Capital) with a global healthcare investment portfolio in China, the United States, and Europe and more than USD1 billion in assets under management. In 2015, ABG initiated, led and completed the US$3.3billion take-private of WuXi PharmaTech, a leading global life science service provider. Yuhan Corporation is a South Korea-based healthcare company founded in 1926. The company has positioned itself as one of the top pharmaceutical companies in terms of market cap and sales revenue in Korea. The core business consists of primary & specialty care, dietary supplements, household & animal care, and contract manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients. It has a number of subsidiaries and a global presence in the form of joint ventures with Janssen (Belgium), the Clorox Company (USA), and Kimberly-Clark Corporation (USA). Yuhan (KS) is a publicly-listed company traded on the Korea Stock Exchange. 2009 Reverse Merger With OTC-Traded QuickByte and Acquisition of 75% Equity Stake by OPKO and its Chairman, Billionaire Dr. Phil Frost On September 21, 2009, Sorrento Therapeutics acquired Miami-based QuikByte Software, Inc. (OTC: QBSW), a publicly-traded company with no active operations, in a reverse merger transaction. The combined entity continued operating under the Sorrento brand. Immediately prior to the merger, QuikByte completed a $2.3 million private placement of common stock to certain investors, including affiliates of Dr. Phillip Frost, chairman and CEO of OPKO Health Inc. (NYSE MKT: OPK), which was a stockholder of Sorrento prior to the merger. Upon the completion of the merger, previous Sorrento shareholders including OPKO, held 75.25% of the combined company, the private placement investors held 19.83%, and previous QuikByte shareholders kept 4.92% of the combined company. “The therapeutic antibody market is experiencing a significant growth phase and is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical market segments,” said Dr. Frost in June 2009. “OPKO is pleased to secure a stake in this cutting edge company,” he added. 2013 NASDAQ: SRNE Listing and Divestment by OPKO On October 25, 2013, Sorrento’s shares started trading on NASDAQ by way of a $30 million public offering at $7.25 per share. Aegis Capital acted as the sole book-running manager, with CRT Capital acting as co-manager for this offering. In addition, Sorrento had previously raised over $10 million through various rounds of equity and debt funding. On December 19, 2013, OPKO said it completed the sale of its stake in Sorrento Therapeutics for $22 million. “The highly successful exit from our investment in Sorrento further crystallizes our strategy of making small investments in other health care companies to either have access to new technology for our product pipeline or to benefit from appreciation in the value of our investment,” said Dr. Frost upon OPKO’s divestment. Dr. Frost has been the CEO and chairman of OPKO since 2007 and is the former chairman of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE: TEVA). He served as chairman and CEO of IVAX Corp from 1987 until its acquisition by Teva in 2006. He was named chairman of the investment banking firm Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE MKT: LTS) in 2006. He was chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center of Greater Miami from 1972 to 1986. He was chairman of Key Pharmaceuticals from 1972 until its acquisition by Schering Plough Corp in 1986. According to Forbes, Dr. Frost has a current net worth of $4.1 billion.]]>