Not every college dropout becomes a success. And then there's Elizabeth Holmes, who stands out among healthcare billionaires on the latest Forbes 400 ranking as the “youngest self-made female billionaire” in the world. Forbes also dubs her No. 1 among “America's self-made women.”
Ranked No. 5 among U.S. healthcare billionaires, the 31-year-old is worth $4.5 billion thanks to Theranos, the company she founded in 2003 after dropping out of Stanford University in her sophomore year.
Theranos offers a simpler, cheaper way to perform blood tests, and every nook within the healthcare industry has taken notice. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Cleveland Clinic, Capital Blue Cross and several other organizations have teamed up with Holmes and Theranos to offer the service, which involves a single prick of blood and has a quick turnaround time.
The other new face this year among the five richest people in the U.S. healthcare sector is Carl Cook, 53, CEO of Cook Group, a medical-device company founded by his parents. He ranks No. 3 among U.S. healthcare billionaires.
Cook's $5.8 billion bankroll is tied to the work his parents, Bill and Gayle, built over the past half century. They founded Cook Group in 1963 in their Bloomington, Ind., apartment and eventually turned it into one of the largest, private medical-device manufacturers in the world. After Bill died in 2011, Carl took over and inherited the family's accrued wealth.
Pharmaceutical and technology mogul Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and HCA hospital chain founder Dr. Thomas Frist Jr. retained their respective No. 1 and 2 spots as the the nation's richest healthcare execs. Soon-Shiong's net worth is $12.9 billion, while Frist's valuation comes in at $8.7 billion. Randal Kirk, founder of a biotechnology firm, also stayed in the top five with a money pot worth $5 billion, making him No. 4 among U.S. healthcare billionaires.