New evidence emerges that Soon-Shiong used philanthropy to funnel money to businesses, Stat says

Emails reveal details of the strings attached to Patrick Soon-Shiong’s $12 million donation to the University of Utah.
By Jessica Davis
10:48 AM
Soon-Shiong University Utah

Stat is again reporting more evidence of biotech mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong’s financial indiscretions between his philanthropic efforts and his for-profit businesses.

The latest: Stat revealed details of emails between NantHealth executives and University of Utah officials that point to at least partial intent to use a $12 million donation to the university to bolster Soon-Shiong’s commercial investments.

[Also: NantHealth founder Soon-Shiong hit with lawsuit over attempted takeover]

A September 2014 memorandum from the University of Utah, sent a few days before the donation was made official, said the genetic analysis paid for by Soon-Shiong’s funding would be performed by his team.

Another university document said a Soon-Shiong company would keep copies of the patient data from the sequencing project that would develop a “sequencing and bioinformatics platform.”

Internal emails from NantHealth revealed executives believed the arrangement was designed to help the business.

[Also: Despite controversies, Paul Ryan names Patrick Soon-Shiong to health IT committee]

What’s more, at the time of the donation the company had yet to confirm its DNA sequencing machines were fully-functional. The deal was contingent upon NantHealth doing the genetic sequencing, but Stat said emails show employees scrambling to delay as the company wasn’t ready for the work.

NantHealth Spokeswoman Jen Hodson told Stat the documents don’t prove the deal was set-up to steer money back to Soon-Shiong’s businesses. Further, the university could have paid a qualified company to do the sequencing.

But the university told its scientists “a bioinformatics team associated with the donor” would do the work in a memo written about four months before the deal.

“There was no commercial benefit,” Hodson told Stat. “However there was a significant benefit to the learning system of mankind.”

In March, Stat revealed Soon-Shiong donated $12 million to the University of Utah’s medical research program, with the understanding that $10 million would be given back to one of his companies. The contract was worded to stipulate the university wouldn’t get the money unless it agreed to those terms.

Soon-Shiong has vehemently denied these claims, even after further reports showed the entrepreneur had a history of bending the rules to benefit his businesses. Last week, Politico found a similar deal Soon-Shiong made with a Phoenix Children’s Hospital fund that included provisions involving millions of dollars in deals that benefited his for-profit businesses.

NantHealth stock has continued to plummet as a result. It was selling at $3.84 a share at time of publication. Soon-Shiong is also being sued for alleged securities violations.

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
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