8 things to know about Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, 'America's richest doctor'

GI surgeon-turned-entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, reached a deal to buy The Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Here are eight things to know about Dr. Soon-Shiong:

1. Forbes estimates Dr. Soon-Shiong's net worth at $7.8 billion. He has been called "America's richest doctor."

2. He sold drug companies Abraxis and American Pharmaceutical Partners for a combined $9.1 billion. He owns NantWorks, a network of health startups.

3. In 2009, he pledged $100 million to Santa Monica, Calif.-based St. John's Hospital. He later made a financial guarantee to help underwrite the reopening of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Willowbrook, Calif. He and his wife, Michele Chan, operate the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation.

4. Dr. Soon-Shiong received his medical degree from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He joined University of California in Los Angeles as an assistant gastroenterology professor and became director of UCLA's pancreas transplant program.

5. After developing a method for treating diabetes by transplanting insulin-producing cells into a patient's pancreas, he left UCLA and founded his own medical research firm.

6. Dr. Soon-Shiong's career has not been without controversy: his cancer drug Abraxane has been criticized as a repackaging of paclitaxel. STAT found that the University of Utah spent much of a $12-million donation from Dr.Soon-Shiong on genetic testing services provided by NantHealth, which Dr. Soon-Shiong calls "maliciously false."

7. In 2016, he launched Cancer MoonShot 2020 — a collaboration of companies, physicians and researchers that said it would conquer cancer in just four years. The group later changed its name to Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 after MD Andersen Cancer Center in Houston filed a lawsuit saying it had already staked claim to the "moonshot" name.

8. Dr. Soon-Shiong is an avid basketball player and part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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