Los Angeles Business Journal

Verizon Invests in Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth

By Deborah Crowe Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Verizon Communications Inc., already a partner in some of billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong’s health care information superhighway ventures, has agreed to make an equity investment in NantHealth LLC, the companies announced Wednesday morning.

NantHealth, a subsidiary of Soon-Shiong’s West L.A. holding company NantWorks LLC, said the New York telecommunications giant’s venture arm, Verizon Investments LLC, took an undisclosed stake in it. Among several initiatives, NantHealth is developing a high-tech infrastructure enabling doctors to use smartphones and similar devices to do everything from research the latest medical treatments to remotely monitor patients in their homes.

“It’s a fabulous strategic partnership,” Soon-Shiong told the Business Journal. “If we can stream a movie into a smartphone today, why can’t we do an X-ray or CAT scan result?”

NantHealth earlier this month announced a pilot program in which Blue Shield of California will use Santa Monica’s Saint John's Health Center as a test bed for communications technology enabling doctors, hospitals and health plans to better deliver evidence-based care. Verizon is a technology partner in that effort, as well as in a separate project to develop a supercomputer that can reduce the time required to analyze the genomic data of a cancer patient to create better personalized treatments.

Soon-Shiong said that Verizon also will be working with NantHealth on “smart home” wireless technology enabling better real-time monitoring of patients in their own homes.

“Our close collaboration with NantHealth underscores Verizon’s commitment to dramatically improve the delivery of health care in the U.S. and abroad,” John Stratton, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said in a statement. “We believe that our joint efforts with Dr. Soon-Shiong will drive down health care costs and significantly improve the industry’s ability to deliver quality care.”

Soon-Shiong, who made his fortune building and selling two publically held drug companies, has only recently begun allowing outside investors into NantWorks companies. In July, New York investment firm Blackstone made a $125 million investment in NantPharma LLC, which is developing more efficient ways to make safe drug components used in treatments for blood diseases such as hemophilia.