Somebody Else Made That Health-Care Innovation Happen — Thankfully

by Patrick Brennan

That new life-saving fiber-optic network which could revolutionize cancer care in America? You didn’t build that, and the federal government didn’t, either — 1-percenter Patrick Soon-Shiong did. Soon-Shiong is a billionaire immigrant from South Korea (via South Africa), and his company has accomplished with private enterprise what the government has failed to do, as detailed in a Reuters profile:

On Wednesday in Washington DC, Soon-Shiong and his L.A.-based NantHealth will unveil a joint venture with Verizon, Intel, Blue Shield of California and others to create a nationwide system for doctors to share DNA and other data on cancer patients. It will enable doctors to do genetic analysis of a patient’s tumor in less than a minute — a job that now can take from eight to 10 weeks.

“This is something the federal government should have done, but we waited and waited for them,” Soon-Shiong told Reuters in an interview.

“It’s unconscionable that cancer patients get the wrong diagnosis 30 percent of the time and that it takes so long to treat them with appropriate drugs for their cancer.” . . .

He created drugs to fight diabetes and breast cancer and then sold the companies that produced them for a combined $8.6 billion.

In the four years since selling those companies, he quietly spent more than $400 million of his own money to build a national fiber optic network that would link cancer clinics throughout the country — the groundwork for the health superhighway.

And if you’re not yet convinced that Soon-Shiong is a great visionary and humanitarian, he’s also apparently the top bidder for the L.A. sports group that owns the L.A. Galaxy and the Kings, called AEG — with which he says he plans to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles.

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