Ex-Abraxis BioScience, Inc. Cancer Researcher-Turned-Billionaire Starts New Company
1/29/2013 8:10:14 AM
Patrick Soon-Shiong, the physician who founded and sold two drug companies to become Los Angeles’s wealthiest resident, is starting a new company with the goal of changing the way cancer is attacked. Called NantOmics, the company will build on the knowledge Soon-Shiong, 60, said he gained from Abraxane, the cancer treatment he developed and sold to Celgene Corp. (CELG) in 2010 for $2.9 billion. The medicine wraps a chemotherapy in a human protein called albumin that aims to more efficiently ferry cancer-killing agents to their target. Celgene reported last week that the drug helped patients with advanced pancreatic cancer live a median 1.8 months longer than a standard treatment, a benefit for people battling one of the deadliest cancers. Soon-Shiong said he wants to extend that benefit by combining new diagnostic technologies and therapeutic strategies to improve care. “It took 23 years from Abraxane being conceived to us showing now with conclusiveness that it works in pancreatic cancer,” Soon-Shiong said by telephone. “We cannot afford as a society to wait another 23 years to make sure that the patients get the right care, at the right time, at the right place.” Since selling his company, Abraxis BioScience, to Summit, New Jersey-based Celgene in 2010, Soon-Shiong has branched into other endeavors. He bought a stake in the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers from star player Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and is pursuing the purchase of Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of the Staples Center in Los Angeles.