San Diego Business Journal

Shareholder, Sorrento Settling Legal Dispute

By Brittany Meiling Monday, March 20, 2017
   

Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. has finally received a stamp of approval from an activist minority shareholder who sued the local drugmaker last summer. The parties say dismissal of the lawsuits is on the horizon.

Wildcat Capital Management LLC, whose clients hold an ownership stake of the common stock of Sorrento, announced Monday that they’ve reached a resolution with Sorrento Therapeutics with respect to Wildcat’s claims last year.

Last May, Wildcat urged the board to take actions to remedy the “ongoing destruction of significant shareholder value.” In particular, the letter called for the board to immediately terminate and replace Henry Ji as CEO and to stop previously announced financing transactions to avoid further dilution to the existing shareholders.

Wildcat filed two lawsuits against the company and certain members of its board in April and in May of last year. Since the suits, Wildcat and Sorrento have engaged in discussions regarding how to increase shareholder value.

“Both parties are in agreement that Sorrento has made tremendous progress with respect to its corporate development initiatives, acquisition and accelerated development of high-value clinical programs, and focusing its strategy to drive shareholder value in both the near and long term,” reads a statement released by Sorrento Therapeutics.

What’s changed Wildcat’s mind? By the end of 2017, Sorrento plans to have several programs in clinical trials, including investigational products in oncology and pain management. Sorrento is also preparing to file an Investigational New Drug application for at least one CAR-T Phase I study.

From an administrative and operational standpoint, Sorrento has hired audit firm Deloitte and enhanced its senior executive team with the appointment of Dr. Jerome Zeldis, the former chief medical officer at Celgene Corp., and Miranda Toledano, who has been appointed as executive vice president for corporate development.

Wildcat and Sorrento have agreed to file the necessary legal paperwork to withdraw and dismiss Wildcat’s claims.