Meet the South African World’s Richest Doctor

Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and chief executive officer of NantHealth, speaks during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Monday, April 27, 2015. The conference brings together hundreds of chief executive officers, senior government officials and leading figures in the global capital markets for discussions on social, political and economic challenges. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Born and raised in South Africa, Patrick Soon-Shiong is not only considered the world’s richest doctor, but the wealthiest man in Los Angeles too.

This is according to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s annual list of wealthiest Angelenos released in May this year which ranked Soon-Shiong No. 1 with a net worth of $15.4 billion.

Soon-Shiong was closely followed by yet another South African-born billionaire, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, who has a net worth of $13.3 billion.

However, Forbes now estimates Soon-Shiong’s net worth to be at $11.6 billion, putting him behind Musk who has a net worth of $12.4 billion.

Soon-Shiong’s South African roots

Soon-Shiong was born in Port Elizabeth in 1952. His parents had fled China during World War Two.

He finished high school at the age of 16 and became a doctor at the age of 23, finishing fourth out of 189 graduates at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Soon-Shiong then moved to Vancouver, Canada to do his surgical residency at the University of British Columbia. In 1979 he earned a master’s degree in surgery.

A fortune through drug development

In 1991, Soon-Shiong invented the pancreatic cancer drug, Abraxane, which was a redesigned version of a top-selling cancer drug called Taxol.

He founded two drug companies in the United States, American Pharmaceutical Partners and Abraxis, which he sold for $9.1 billion.

He then went on to build his NantWorks health empire.

Cancer Moonshot 2020

In January this year, Soon-Shiong launched Cancer Moonshot 2020, the nation’s most comprehensive cancer collaborative which brings together pharma, community and academic oncology, government, and scientific communities to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients.

Giving back

Soon-Shiong has donated $135 million toward renovations of St John’s Health Center, and a further $100-million guarantee to the University of California regents to underwrite the reopening of Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in South L.A.

As a member of the Buffett-Gates Giving Pledge, Soon-Shiong intends to give away at least half his fortune.

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