- The South African-born, US-based biotech billionaire entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong has announced his interest in collaborating with the country
- His NantWorks LLC has signed a collaboration agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, among other science and innovation companies
- Soon-Shiong's other company, ImmunityBio Inc., is conducting trials of its Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa
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California-based transplant surgeon and bioscientist Patrick Soon-Shiong will announce a plan to transfer technology for Covid-19 and cancer vaccine manufacturing in South Africa.
News24 reported earlier that the billionaire entrepreneur, who was born in South Africa, will make the announcement with President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Following a statement from the presidency on Thursday afternoon, Briefly News understands that Soon-Shiong's company, NantWorks LLC, has signed a collaboration agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The company develops technologies for the advancement of healthcare, commerce, and digital entertainment.
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According to Bloomberg, NantWorks will also collaborate with the South African Medical Research Council and the Centre for Epidemic Response and biotechnology.
Talks to open vaccine production facilities
His other company, ImmunityBio Inc., which develops therapies to kill cancer, is conducting trials of its Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa.
The company has held discussions with the Biovac Institute in Cape Town to potentially open vaccine production facilities.
At least three local Universities will be in the mix. Soon-Shiong was born in Gqeberha and has to date amassed a fortune in excess of $11 bn (R162 billion), according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.
His fortune is owed to his pioneering cancer treatment drug Abraxane. Producing the drug in the US, Soon-Shiong has sold two firms for a combined $7.4 bn (R109.2 billion).
The Los Angeles Times newspaper and the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly among of Soon-Shiong's assets.
Vaccinated South Africans may soon be allowed to travel to the United States
In other news, Briefly News previously reported that the US has committed to lifting the travel ban imposed on South Africans by November.
However, the only citizens who have been fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus will be allowed to enter the country.
The US government had initiated travel ban restrictions on several countries over a year ago and has announced that some of the countries who were previously banned from travelling to the country will now be allowed to enter the US.
Countries that have now been removed from the US's travel ban list include India, Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the UK as well as 26 European countries, according to a report by Fin24.