The University of Utah violated state procurement laws in the way it handled a controversial deal with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, according to a legislative audit released this week. The findings prompted a top state lawmaker to describe the arrangement as perfectly tailored to benefit Soon-Shiong’s company.
“The worry is that that’s just trying to Cinderella-slipper something for one person, or for one entity,” Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes said this week during a hearing on the matter.
The concerns center on the university’s handling of a $12 million gift it received from Soon-Shiong in 2014. The gift advanced medical research at the university, but the contract was worded in such a way that most of the money Soon-Shiong donated ended up coming back to his company to pay for the genetic sequencing required to carry out that research, bringing him commercial benefits.