Reporter Matthew Herper believes “this is biology’s century” — it says so right on his Forbes profile–so he’s not a doubter. And few journalists are more familiar with the world’s richest doctor, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who was just profiled on CBS’s 60 Minutes as something of a Steve Jobs of cancer cures. (Herper wrote a Forbes cover story on Soon-Shiong in September.) But as much as Herper is a believer in the ultimate triumph of science over disease, he isn’t sure 60 Minutes gave enough caveats as it presented Soon-Shiong’s specific story.
Herper wants people to remember that Dr. Soon-Shiong is the CEO of a multibillion dollar medical research operation under the name NantWorks, which isn’t shy about saying misleading things. Herper also points out that publicity for Soon-Shiang’s solutions–many of which remain unproven–is pushing his company’s valuation into the stratosphere. (That probably includes Herper’s own cover story.) Indeed, just last week Soon-Shiong told people that NantWorks was planning an IPO for 2015. He has major investors behind him–from BlackRock to Blackberry–to satisfy. Herper is no pessimist. He writes: “I looked long and hard at Soon-Shiong’s efforts, and I came away optimistic that something real might come out of them.” That “something real” is awfully close to that “might”–don’t you think? But best to hope for the best, like Herper. He’s selling to a market that just can’t wait.
Bill Clinton and Patrick Soon-Shiong in conversation: