The 10 Richest People In Medicine

Ronda Stryker

Photo: Spelman College

Forbes’s 400 richest people in America came out yesterday and we took a quick look at which sciencey people made the list.Here are the top 10 from Healthcare, which includes people who work in pharmaceuticals and medical device companies.

Most of them have science degrees of some kind, ranging from medical doctors to engineers.

Patrick Soon-Shiong

Net worth: $7.3 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 47

Age: 60

Education: Has an MD from the University of Witwatersrand, a Master's degree in science from the University of British Columbia, and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Witwatersrand.

Background: Soon-Shiong was 16 when he completed high school, and at 23 he received his medical degree. His wealth comes from being a founder of two pharmaceutical companies, American Pharma Partners and Abraxis Bioscience. He sold APP in 2008 for $5.6 billion, and in 2010 sold Abraxis for $2.9 billion.

He is now working on bringing a digital revolution to healthcare, commerce, and digital entertainment through a company he founded called NantWorks. One project involves developing an application to give doctors information about a patient's DNA by linking the data to the latest scientific research.

Thomas Frist, Jr. & family

Net worth: $4 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 92

Age: 74

Education: Got his MD from Washington University and has a bachelor's from Vanderbilt University.

Background: In the 1960's Thomas Frist, Sr. led an effort to build a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. Frustrated by looking for a group to manage the hospital, Frist Sr and his son Frist, Jr. started the Hospital Corporation of America in 1968.

Frist Jr. remains the biggest shareholder for the now hospital giant. The company had revenues of $29.7 billion in 2011.

The Frist family now was a new company that is building a hospital with the Chinese government and has contracts to acquire two more hospitals.

Gayle Cook

Net worth: $3.7 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 104

Age: 78

Education: She has a high school diploma.

Background: Gayle Cook and William Cook co-founded a medical device company called the Cook Group Incorporated in 1963. Using a spare bedroom in their apartment as their first factory, they began building wire guides, needles, and catheters.

Now Cook Group has offices from the U.S. to Europe, around the Pacific Rim, and is expanding throughout Asia. Today the company specialises in stents and antibiotic catheters. The company recently launched a new arm focusing on cell and tissue processing and cryopreservation technologies.

After the death of Gayle's husband in 2011 she inherited his stake in the company and currently serves on the board.

Ronda Stryker

Net worth: $2.5 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 179

Age: 58

Education: She has a master's degree from Western Michigan University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado.

Background: Homer Stryker was an orthopedic surgeon who started making medical devices to meet his patient's needs, founding Stryker Corporation in 1941. Stryker is now a global leader in the medical technology industry specializing in making replacement joints, and other devices.

Ronda Stryker is the founder's granddaughter, and is the director and the largest shareholder of Stryker Corp. Ronda's siblings Pat and John Stryker are also on the list ranking at 328 and 360. She is the only member of the family still active in the company.

Phillip Frost

Net worth: $2.4 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 190

Age: 75

Education: Has his MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his bachelor's from the University of Pennsylvania.

Background: Phillip Frost was a dermatology professor that took over Key Pharmaceuticals with partner Michael Jaharis, to develop generic pharmaceuticals and veterinary products.

After selling the company in 1986, Frost founded Ivax, which he sold later for $7.6 billion in 2005. Today he is chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest producer of generic pharmaceuticals in the country.

Frost is an active trader, and hold stakes in several companies such as SafeStitch, a medical device company, and he recently bought a 45 per cent stake in Israeli vaccine-maker, Opko Health.

Randall Kirk

Net worth: $2.4 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 190

Age: 58

Education: Got his JD from the University of Virginia and a bachelor's from Radford University.

Background: Kirk is an entrepreneur that co-founded his first pharmaceutical firm, General Injectables & Vaccines, in 1984.

He sold the company in 1998. He also also co-founded King Pharmaceuticals in 1993, founded New River Pharmaceuticals in 1996, and more. He sold his company New River Pharmaceuticals in 2007 for $2.6 billion, then in 2011 his drug company Clinical Data for $1.2 billion

Currently he is focused on a biotech start-up, Intrexon, a synthetic biology-based company that uses genetic engineering to better control the function and output of living cells.

Judy Faulkner

Net worth: $1.7 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 285

Age: 68

Education: She has a master's from University of Wisconsin and a bachelor's from Dickinson College.

Background: Faulkner is a computer scientist that founded an electronic health records company, Epic Systems, in 1979.

In 2011 the fast growing company had revenues of $1.2 billion. By next year more than 40 per cent of the U.S. population will have its medical information digitally stored using Epic Systems.

Gary Michelson

Net worth: $1.4 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 328

Age: 63

Education: Has his MD from Hahnemann Medical College and a bachelor's from Temple University.

Background: Gary Michelson is credited with having more than 250 U.S. patents on orthopedic instruments, methods, and devices. In 2005 he received a $1.35 billion settlement from medical device company Medtronic over use of his spinal surgery patents.

Michelson is using his settlement on animal welfare and started the Found Animals Foundation to help overfilled pet shelters. He offered the Michelson Prize, worth $25 million, in 2008 to the first scientist who invents an injectable pet sterilant. He also donated $50 million to assist in the research.

John Brown

Net worth: $1.2 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 360

Age: 78

Education: Has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Auburn University.

Background: John Brown became chief executive of Stryker Corporation after Lee Stryker passed away in 1976.

In the 32 years Brown has been president and chief executive, he has transformed Stryker from a $17 million hospital bed maker into a leading and global medical technology company. In 2011 the company earned $8.3 billion in revenues.

Brown retired in December 2009, and now serves as chairman emeritus.

Neal Patterson

Net worth: $1.12 billion

Forbes billionaires rank: 391

Age: 62

Education: He has a master's and a bachelor's from Oklahoma State University.

Background: Neal Patterson and two colleagues started Cerner Corporation in 1979. The company that produces hospital laboratory management systems went public in 1986. Patterson serves as the Chairman, CEO and President of Cerner Corp.

In 2011 Cerner Corporation made a net income of $307 million from their $2.2 billion in sales. This success has landed Patterson on the Forbes 400 for the first time.

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