Who is Patrick Soon-Shiong? An LA billionaire with big ideas — and mixed achievements

James Rufus Koren, Thomas Curwen And Melody Petersen, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

But his work has not been without controversy.

Abraxane is not so much a new drug as a reworked, repackaged version of one of the best-known cancer fighters -- paclitaxel, a compound derived from the Pacific yew. When the drug was approved in 2005, a group of top oncologists questioned whether the expensive drug was "just old wine in a new bottle."

In the 1990s, he got into a legal feud with his brother and others. In 2014, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed in Panama City, Fla., alleging one of his companies, NantHealth, was "engaged in a multitude of fraudulent activities."

That year a profile in Forbes described his "deep streak of P.T. Barnum showmanship" and a talent for angering "investors and colleagues alike."

Over the last year, Soon-Shiong's companies have been dogged by weak stock performances and shareholder lawsuits. Last spring, biotech news site Stat found that the University of Utah spent much of a $12-million donation from Soon-Shiong on genetic testing services provided by NantHealth.

Soon-Shiong called the story "maliciously false," but investors nevertheless fled NantHealth's stock, sending shares tumbling. The company went public in June 2016, pricing shares at $14; shares now trade at about $3. Shares of another Soon-Shiong company, NantKwest, have fallen to about $4 from their initial public offering price of $25 in July 2015.

Both of those companies were hit with fraud suits by investors after their stocks tanked. Soon-Shiong has denied the investors' claims. He has also been sued by singer Cher, who claims he and others duped her into selling shares in a promising drug company back to the firm at a fraction of the stock's value.

--Sponsored Video--

In 2016, Soon-Shiong launched Cancer MoonShot 2020 -- a collaboration of companies, doctors and researchers that said it would conquer cancer in just four years. The group had to later change its name to Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 after a lawsuit was filed by the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, which had already staked claim to the "moonshot" name.

An avid basketball player, Soon-Shiong shoots hoops weekly with colleagues and is a part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.

In 2012 when Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, described Soon-Shiong, he made an off-the-cuff assessment of his friend. Before the two men took to the stage for a public conversation about healthcare, Crow called him "an unshielded nuclear reactor."

(c)2018 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Darrin Bell Ask Shagg Beetle Bailey Zack Hill Nest Heads Chip Bok