"How the world’s richest doctor gave away millions — then steered the cash back to his company" by Rebecca Robbins, March 6, 2017
The world’s richest doctor had just made a $12 million gift to the University of Utah. Members of the university community were urged to come thank him. And so, a crowd gathered.
For months, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong would continue to reap praise for his generosity in publicity put out by the university. Not mentioned in any of the tributes: $10 million of his donation would be sent right back to one of his companies. And the contract for his gift was worded in a way that left the University of Utah with no other choice.
The university health system did get free and valuable information for genetics research through the deal. But a STAT investigation has found that Soon-Shiong benefited even more from his charitable donation.
He got reams of patient data to help him build a new commercial product meant to assess patients’ risk of rare and inherited diseases. He got a stream of cash for one of his struggling companies.
And the deal made it possible for his company to inflate, by more than 50 percent, the number of test orders it reported to investors late last year while updating them on interest in a flagship product, a diagnostic tool known as GPS Cancer. Soon-Shiong’s team counted genetic sequencing ordered by the University of Utah in those order numbers — even though the work for the university did not have anything to do with diagnosing or recommending treatments for cancer patients.
Even in the world of academic donations, which the wealthy often use to burnish their image or advance pet causes, the arrangement stands out as highly unusual.
STAT has previously detailed how Soon-Shiong’s high-profile cancer moonshot initiative achieved little scientific progress in its first year, instead functioning primarily as a marketing tool for GPS Cancer....
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Emails show how a billionaire’s philanthropy boosted his business
Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth reports $184 million loss for 2016
So much for bringing back print newspapers.
Also see: Utah watchdog launches probe of Patrick Soon-Shiong’s controversial donation