NantHealth's Patrick Soon-Shiong Expands His Empire With Plans to Open a World-Class Cancer Center This Summer

Published: Jun 12, 2017

NantHealth's Patrick Soon-Shiong Expands His Empire With Plans to Open a World-Class Cancer Center This Summer June 9, 2017
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Perhaps best known as the world’s richest doctor,” Patrick Soon-Shiong plans to add another component to his health care empire—a Los Angeles-based cancer center.

At a recent Beverly Hills event, Soon-Shiong promised to open a world-class cancer center, hopefully this summer. The center would be a standalone oncology clinic with private practitioners who treat cancer patients and conduct research. Soon-Shiong’s spokeswoman, Jen Hodson, indicated that the clinic won’t be affiliated with any of his biotech companies. It hasn’t yet been determined if the clinic will conduct clinical trials.

For that matter, it hasn’t been determined if the clinic will open at all. At this point the physicians who will run the clinic have selected the building, equipment and hired medical staff. But the clinic is still pending regulatory clearance from the state of California.

Although that would seem to suggest it’s all ready to go, Soon-Shiong told the Los Angeles Business Journal that he also has a backup plan if it doesn’t. He will move to his native South Africa and attempt the project there.

Soon-Shiong received a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBCh) from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa when he was 23. He eventually began surgical training at University of California, Los Angeles. In 1991, he left his surgical positions to start a diabetes and cancer biotech company, which led, in 1997 to APP Pharmaceuticals. He sold the company to Fresenius SE for $4.6 billion in 2008. He later founded Abraxis BioScience and co-developed the cancer drug Abraxane. He sold the company to Celgene in 2010 for over $3 billion.

His umbrella company is NantWorks. Under it are several biotech companies, including NantCell, which focuses on immuno-oncology research, NantKwest, NantHealth and several others. He is also behind The Cancer MoonShot 2020 which plans to design, initiate and finish randomized clinical trials in up to 20 tumor types in cancers of all stages in 20,000 patients by the year 2020.

Soon-Shiong and his company recently came into controversy over alleged self-dealing in regards to a charity. STAT News, a division of the Boston Globe, reported that Soon-Shiong’s $12 million donation to the University of Utah was designed so that NantHealth (NH) received $10 million to conduct the research. The University of Utah indicated the work it ordered was “straightforward genetic sequencing” that would be used in preclinical research.

Soon-Shiong responded to the allegations to the Los Angeles Times, saying that STAT’s report was “maliciously false,” and the contribution to the university was made out of “a desire to make this knowledge available to scientists throughout the world.”

The technology involved was GPS Cancer, Soon-Shiong’s molecular profile analysis, part of NantHealth.

Soon-Shiong, who has significant financial interests in the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Times, at the Beverly Hills event, pointed to them as examples of great institutions in sports and media. “What we don’t have is a great cancer center.” That was his way of announcing his plans for a cancer clinic.

Which seems like an odd introduction. STAT notes, “Los Angeles, of course, is already a hot spot for cancer treatment. It’s swarming with oncologists; Los Angeles County has approximately 600 of them, according to the physician social network Doximity.”

And the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area has four National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers, which is more than anywhere except New York City. They are at University of California Los Angeles, U of C-Irvine, the University of Southern California, and City of Hope. And Cedars-Sinai Hospital is also a top cancer center.

Soon-Shiong also told the Los Angeles Business Journal he expects to take three of his privately-held biotech companies public by 2018 under the name NantBio. The three companies are NantBioscience, NantOmics, and NantCell.

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