7 things to know about multibillionaire cancer crusader Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong

Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, is said to be the nation's wealthiest physician. The multibillionaire of Los Angeles is a surgeon, scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, with a medical empire that spans biotechnology companies, cancer centers and acute care hospitals.

Most recently, Dr. Soon-Shiong made headlines after his biotechnology firm NantWorks acquired a majority stake in Integrity Healthcare. Through the deal, NantWorks, for which Dr. Soon-Shiong serves as CEO and chairman of the board of directors, will assume operations of Verity Health, a five-hospital system in Redwood, Calif., as well as a physician network and the Verity Medical Foundation.

Here are seven more things to know about Dr. Soon-Shiong.

1. He has held the top seat at NantWorks since July 2010. In 2015, he earned $147.6 million, or 14 times the median amount CEOs in 400 of the U.S.'s largest companies were paid that year. The South African native, now 64, is worth an estimated $9 billion, according to Politico.

2. Dr. Soon-Shiong is credited with helping create the cancer drug Abraxane, which oncologists said is an incremental improvement over previous therapies. It is used to treat certain forms of lung and prostate cancer. Abraxis, the company he created to sell the drug, was bought by Celgene in 2010 for an estimated $3 billion, according to Politico. Two years prior, he sold another company, American Pharmaceutical Partners, to Fresenius, for about $4.6 billion. The billionaire's wealth and pledge to eradicate cancer has positioned him to lead numerous cancer-fighting efforts.

3. Highly critical of America's current approach on fighting cancer, Dr. Soon-Shiong created the Cancer MoonShot 2020 initiative in early 2016. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center filed a lawsuit in October 2016 over the rights of the name, as the Houston-based health system had been using the tagline since August 2012. Dr. Soon-Shiong's initiative aims to combine health information technology with genomic testing to transform cancer into a manageable condition. In January, Dr. Soon-Shiong changed its name to Cancer Breakthroughs 2020.

4. Despite its goals, investigations led by STAT and Politico found Dr. Soon-Shiong's initiative may not be making much progress. STAT reviewed hours of video, poured over scientific presentations and consulted a number of scientists and found the initiative has made "very little scientific progress" and likened it to an "elaborate marketing tool." Politico's investigation revealed the majority of NantHealth Foundation's expenditures are channeled directly into business and nonprofits controlled by Dr. Soon-Shiong, and the majority of its grants have gone to organizations that have business deals with his for-profit companies.

5. In response to questions from Politico, Dr. Soon-Shiong defended his philanthropies. "All of these endeavors, including my charitable endeavors, are primarily done so with the hope that my efforts and my funds will work to reduce and even prevent the deadly consequences of multiple forms of cancer, as well as other debilitating and deadly conditions or diseases," Dr. Soon-Shiong said, according to the report.

6. Dr. Soon-Shiong's business troubles don't end there. Two of his cancer-fighting start-ups that he took public in the past two years have each garnered major losses, according to The Los Angeles Times. Both companies' stocks have descended more than 70 percent from their highs. The companies are also both being sued by stakeholders who allege management inflated results to mislead investors. Dr. Soon-Shiong has denied these claims.

7. Dr. Soon-Shiong recently announced another plan to bolster cancer care, this time by building a world-class cancer center in Los Angeles. At the Business Journal's Icons event in May, he announced he will open a new cancer center this summer. However, he will not own the clinic, nor will he have any financial interest in it, according to STAT. The cancer center will be set up by an unnamed group of physicians, while Dr. Soon-Shiong will be on staff in a standalone oncology clinic, where private practitioners will treat patients and conduct research. The facility will not be affiliated with any of his biotech companies.

Editor's note: This article was updated July 6. A previous version misstated Integrity Healthcare's headquarters.

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