Biotech billionaire's supercomputer cuts cancer analysis to 47 seconds

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and biotech mogul, has spotlighted a supercomputer-based system and network to rapidly transfer and analyze cancer genetic data in mere seconds as opposed to the weeks or months of previous approaches. The supercomputer crunches genetic data from a tumor with results on abnormalities in 47 seconds, and the high-speed fiber-optic network Soon-Shiong has championed transfers samples in shy of 18 seconds, according to an announcement Wednesday.  

Soon-Shiong's L.A.-based company NantHealth has joined forces with Verizon, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Blue Shield of California and other players to advance a national system to enable rapid sharing of genomic information among cancer doctors, aiding physicians in making the right call on treatments for patients based on the characteristics of their tumors. It's a big deal because lack of such information contributes to misdiagnoses.

Via NantHealth and other vehicles, Soon-Shiong has worked on integrating a variety of digital technologies to revolutionize scientific research and medicine. As Reuters reports, he's poured more than $400 million from his estimated fortune of more than $7 billion into building the fiber-optic network. His nonprofit is working on connecting sequencing centers, medical research hubs and hospitals to the network to create an infrastructure for these groups to share data from big science endeavors such as The Cancer Genome Atlas.

Soon-Shiong built most of his fortune with the sales of Abraxis BioScience to Celgene ($CELG) in 2010 for $2.9 billion and APP Pharmaceuticals to Germany's Fresenius two years earlier for billions. (Abraxis developed Celgene's anti-cancer drug Abraxane.) He's now reportedly the richest man in Los Angeles, where he owns a piece of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and has been connected with efforts to bring an NFL franchise back to the city. 

- here's the release
- get color on Soon-Shiong from Reuters
- check out FiercePharma's take