South African-born Patrick Soon-Shiong has been named the world’s wealthiest doctor. With an estimated net worth of R150-billion, he has revolutionised healthcare through his work in the medical field.

Born in Port Elizabeth in 1952, Soon-Shiong was the son of immigrants who fled from China during WW2, growing up “coloured” as per the apartheid system’s racial classification system. After finishing high school at the age of 16, he went on to study at the University of the Witwatersrand and graduated at 23, becoming the fourth-highest achiever in his year of 189 graduates. An internship at the Johannesburg General Hospital followed, where he was paid half the salary of his fellow white interns. Soon-Shiong currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Michele and two children.

Fast-forward nearly 50 years, and the medical professional is one of the biggest names in his field – and is equally renowned for giving away hundreds of millions of dollars to funds and healthcare projects in the US. Soon-Shiong become increasingly recognised during the 1980’s when he began transplanting pancreatic cells to help treat diabates. Additionally, his work led him to invent the world’s first breast cancer treatment through nanoparticle delivery technology.

Soon-Shiong later founded two pharmaceutical companies, Abraxis and American Pharmaceutical Partners, which were eventually sold for R112-billion. In 2001, the Port Elizabeth-born doctor founded Nantworks, an insistute which develops technology to analyse genetic data from tumours in near real time. His vision – and legacy, is to bring together networked supercomputers and personalised mixtures of cancer drugs to manage cancer.

Ranked by Forbes as among the 100 largest fortunes in the US, Soon-Shiong plans to give away half of his fortune before retiring and is an active member of the Buffet/Gates Giving Pledge.

South Africa is proud of Dr Soon-Shiong and his advancements in the medical field.


Photography Forbes Magazine

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