LOS ANGELES: A Pennsylvania hospital led by biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong won approval for up to US$5 million in federal aid for small businesses under a coronavirus pandemic loan program, government data show.
The Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center in Windber, Pennsylvania, was cleared for a loan of between US$2 million to US$5 million to help keep 490 workers employed under the U.S. government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Soon-Shiong, 67, is a high-profile biotech executive and physician with an estimated net worth of US$7.6 billion, according to Forbes.
He took control of the 54-bed, nonprofit hospital in 2016, and it was renamed for his wife, Michele Chan, and himself. He serves as the hospital's chairman.
The Paycheck Protection Program enables small businesses harmed by the pandemic to apply for a forgivable government-backed loan from a lender. As part of the application, companies had to certify that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan necessary to support” their ongoing operations.
A spokeswoman for Soon-Shiong did not immediately comment on the loan and whether the hospital used the money. A hospital representative did not respond to a request for comment.
Soon-Shiong runs several medical companies, two of which are working on a potential vaccine to prevent infection by the novel coronavirus - NantKwest Inc and his privately-held ImmunityBio.
He also owns the Los Angeles Times newspaper and is part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team. In April, the team returned US$4.6 million in PPP aid amid scrutiny of the loans.
(Reporting by Chad Terhune; Editing by Bill Berkrot)