When a reporter for Forbes Magazine smugly blogged last June about being able to spot the less obvious billionaires in the crowd at Staples Center for Game 7 of the NBA Finals, he failed to mention the biggest one of them all. That would be Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong (pictured), the 25-year season ticket holder who just bought Magic Johnson‘s 4.5% stake in the team.
This despite the fact that Soon-Shiong was clearly identified just a few weeks later in the same publication as “the richest man in the drug business.” As part of a June 2010 multi-billion dollar corporate deal, his second such transaction in the past three years, Soon-Shiong stands to make even more money if the lung and pancreatic cancer-fighting drugs developed under his watch hit certain FDA and revenue targets.
That’s right. The richest man in Los Angeles for the past two years running also cures cancer. Add in some rags-to-riches beginnings involving Chinese immigrant parents in Apartheid-era South Africa and the selling of generic drugs to hospitals, and you wind up with the feel-good story of the decade.
The definitive mainstream media piece about the life story of Soon-Shiong, who has also accumulated some 30 patents, does not appear to have yet been written. In the meantime, to learn more about an NBA owner who is “changing the way we treat cancer”, watch this April 29th Forbes.com video. A.k.a. Where Amazing Really Happens.