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.
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."
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