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Mike Schaefer uses Sarah Weddington death

Soon-Shiong loans $300 million to his covid-vaccine venture

Union-Tribune owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital has “loaned” $300 million of his sizable fortune to his Los Angeles-based ImmunityBio venture, side-stepping a potentially embarrassing public stock offering.
Union-Tribune owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital has “loaned” $300 million of his sizable fortune to his Los Angeles-based ImmunityBio venture, side-stepping a potentially embarrassing public stock offering.

Dia de los politicos

Facing a big-money 2022 reelection challenge from termed-out state senator Ben Hueso, Board of Equalization member Mike Schaefer, a fellow Democrat, has taken to the Union-Tribune’s paid obituary section to tout his liberal bona fides.

“She was a hero to women across our nation as the brilliant lawyer who successfully argued the landmark reproductive rights case Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971 & 1972,” says a January 9 obituary dedicated to Texas lawyer Sarah Weddington, who died December 26. While most U-T death notices typically detail the number of great-grandchildren left behind by the deceased or their favorite sports teams, Schaeffer’s Weddington tribute reads, “I escorted Sarah to a Planned Parenthood celebration in her honor in San Diego and took her to visit the AIDS quilt exhibit in Balboa Park. We explored Tijuana together, our neighboring city to the south, which she enjoyed immensely.” A photo of a smiling Weddington with Schaeffer is featured.

The most recently available campaign money tallies on file with the state Secretary of State’s office show Schaeffer’s reelection committee ended the first half of last year with $100,750, all of which came out of his pocket. Challenger Hueso posted a total of $37,387, after raising $54,700 during the first half. Donors included Anthem Blue Cross ($2000), Encore Capital Group ($1000), the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians ($3000), and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation ($4000). Second-half givers to Hueso’s campaign have included the Los Angeles Police Protective League PAC, with $5000 on August 30...

More bad news for UCSD, which advertised for an ethics investigator to root out its burgeoning raft of in-house scandals in November. U.C. San Diego Health, per a January 11 news release by the U.S. Justice Department, “has paid $2.98 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by ordering medically unnecessary genetic testing reimbursed by Medicare.” Says the announcement, “from December 2015 to October 2019, U.C. San Diego Health ordered and submitted referrals for medically unnecessary genetic testing performed by CQuentia Arkansas Labs, CQuentia NGS, and Total Diagnostic II.” Intoned U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman: “Ordering unnecessary genetic tests creates a drain on vital government-funded health care programs like Medicare.” 

Covid mogul on the make

Deep-pocketed Union-Tribune owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital has “loaned” $300 million of his sizable fortune to his Los Angeles-based ImmunityBio venture, side-stepping a potentially embarrassing public stock offering. “With the $300 million financing from Nant Capital combined with the equity raised over the last nine months, we have made the decision to pause the At-the-Market offering, and we are well-positioned to further accelerate development of our oncology and covid-19 trials,” ImmunityBio’s chief executive Richard Adcock said in a January 10 LA Business Journal dispatch.

Having a 78.8% stake in the company, the publication notes, Soon-Shiong “is the most impacted by any significant movement in ImmunityBio’s share price.” The stock’s price bumped up the first week of January with the announcement that ImmunityBio had finished setting up a deal with Emeryville-based biotech Amyris Inc. to get into the potentially lucrative business of making a covid-19 vaccine.

But all has not gone according to plan for another high-profile covid-related Soon-Shiong venture. Back in 2020, the super-rich biotech magnate bought the 7.5-acre St. Vincent Medical Center in L.A.’s Westlake district out of bankruptcy for $135 million. According to an April 16, 2020, news release from seller Verity Health System, Soon-Shiong was to “assume the lease between Verity Health and the State of California, which allows the State to utilize the main campus to provide services related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and related infectious disease (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong will also use the other buildings on the St. Vincent campus to conduct critical COVID-19 research.”

Soon-Shiong personally entered the transaction after state Attorney General Xavier Becerra objected to a previously set sale to a Soon-Shiong-run non-profit. (Becerra complained the arrangement would be tainted by conflict of interest because a Soon-Shiong profit-making company was a creditor in bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reported.) But per the LA Business Journal’s account, under Soon-Shiong’s stewardship, the property’s status has since been in limbo. “In November 2020, Soon-Shiong quietly turned over the campus to Chicago-based real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to ‘reposition’ the facility. A spokesman with the Los Angeles office of Jones Lang LaSalle said there had been no significant developments, leases, or other announcements to report in the repositioning process. And a spokesman for Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital did not return calls and emails seeking comment.”

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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The best doctor: dancing at Plaza de Reyes in Old Town

“I said to my pal, ‘I’m going to dance with that girl, and then I’m going to marry her.’”
Union-Tribune owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital has “loaned” $300 million of his sizable fortune to his Los Angeles-based ImmunityBio venture, side-stepping a potentially embarrassing public stock offering.
Union-Tribune owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital has “loaned” $300 million of his sizable fortune to his Los Angeles-based ImmunityBio venture, side-stepping a potentially embarrassing public stock offering.

Dia de los politicos

Facing a big-money 2022 reelection challenge from termed-out state senator Ben Hueso, Board of Equalization member Mike Schaefer, a fellow Democrat, has taken to the Union-Tribune’s paid obituary section to tout his liberal bona fides.

“She was a hero to women across our nation as the brilliant lawyer who successfully argued the landmark reproductive rights case Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971 & 1972,” says a January 9 obituary dedicated to Texas lawyer Sarah Weddington, who died December 26. While most U-T death notices typically detail the number of great-grandchildren left behind by the deceased or their favorite sports teams, Schaeffer’s Weddington tribute reads, “I escorted Sarah to a Planned Parenthood celebration in her honor in San Diego and took her to visit the AIDS quilt exhibit in Balboa Park. We explored Tijuana together, our neighboring city to the south, which she enjoyed immensely.” A photo of a smiling Weddington with Schaeffer is featured.

The most recently available campaign money tallies on file with the state Secretary of State’s office show Schaeffer’s reelection committee ended the first half of last year with $100,750, all of which came out of his pocket. Challenger Hueso posted a total of $37,387, after raising $54,700 during the first half. Donors included Anthem Blue Cross ($2000), Encore Capital Group ($1000), the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians ($3000), and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation ($4000). Second-half givers to Hueso’s campaign have included the Los Angeles Police Protective League PAC, with $5000 on August 30...

More bad news for UCSD, which advertised for an ethics investigator to root out its burgeoning raft of in-house scandals in November. U.C. San Diego Health, per a January 11 news release by the U.S. Justice Department, “has paid $2.98 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by ordering medically unnecessary genetic testing reimbursed by Medicare.” Says the announcement, “from December 2015 to October 2019, U.C. San Diego Health ordered and submitted referrals for medically unnecessary genetic testing performed by CQuentia Arkansas Labs, CQuentia NGS, and Total Diagnostic II.” Intoned U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman: “Ordering unnecessary genetic tests creates a drain on vital government-funded health care programs like Medicare.” 

Covid mogul on the make

Deep-pocketed Union-Tribune owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital has “loaned” $300 million of his sizable fortune to his Los Angeles-based ImmunityBio venture, side-stepping a potentially embarrassing public stock offering. “With the $300 million financing from Nant Capital combined with the equity raised over the last nine months, we have made the decision to pause the At-the-Market offering, and we are well-positioned to further accelerate development of our oncology and covid-19 trials,” ImmunityBio’s chief executive Richard Adcock said in a January 10 LA Business Journal dispatch.

Having a 78.8% stake in the company, the publication notes, Soon-Shiong “is the most impacted by any significant movement in ImmunityBio’s share price.” The stock’s price bumped up the first week of January with the announcement that ImmunityBio had finished setting up a deal with Emeryville-based biotech Amyris Inc. to get into the potentially lucrative business of making a covid-19 vaccine.

But all has not gone according to plan for another high-profile covid-related Soon-Shiong venture. Back in 2020, the super-rich biotech magnate bought the 7.5-acre St. Vincent Medical Center in L.A.’s Westlake district out of bankruptcy for $135 million. According to an April 16, 2020, news release from seller Verity Health System, Soon-Shiong was to “assume the lease between Verity Health and the State of California, which allows the State to utilize the main campus to provide services related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and related infectious disease (‘COVID-19’) pandemic. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong will also use the other buildings on the St. Vincent campus to conduct critical COVID-19 research.”

Soon-Shiong personally entered the transaction after state Attorney General Xavier Becerra objected to a previously set sale to a Soon-Shiong-run non-profit. (Becerra complained the arrangement would be tainted by conflict of interest because a Soon-Shiong profit-making company was a creditor in bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reported.) But per the LA Business Journal’s account, under Soon-Shiong’s stewardship, the property’s status has since been in limbo. “In November 2020, Soon-Shiong quietly turned over the campus to Chicago-based real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to ‘reposition’ the facility. A spokesman with the Los Angeles office of Jones Lang LaSalle said there had been no significant developments, leases, or other announcements to report in the repositioning process. And a spokesman for Soon-Shiong’s Nant Capital did not return calls and emails seeking comment.”

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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