Most South Africans have never heard of him but Port Elizabeth-born Patrick Soon-Shiong is the wealthiest man in LA, according to Forbes magazine, No.39 on its Rich List.
The son of Chinese immigrants, he matriculated by age 16 and graduated from Wits at 23 with a medical degree.
He worked with TB patients before moving to the US.
There, he helped create a breast cancer drug called Abraxane – using nanotechnology – which was more effective and had fewer side effects; it’s currently in trials for other forms of cancer.
His refusal to release Abraxane to a pharmaceutical company, and his aggressive marketing, put him where business and medicine meet.
Soon-Shiong started his own biotech companies, Abraxis Bioscience and American Pharmaceutical Partners, patented 50 other drugs, wrote over 130 scientific papers and won countless awards.
The 61-year-old, who still speaks with a South African accent, now has a new company that’s set to transform healthcare by creating secure biomedical information sharing.
His family foundation (his wife is Michelle Chan, from the 80s TV series Hotel) spent $235 million to upgrade hospitals in poor communities.
The good doctor now wants to buy the LA Kings (hockey), Lakers (basketball) and Galaxy (soccer) teams.
Why? He wants players to encourage kids to fight obesity and diabetes.