Within the in vitro diagnostics and clinical laboratory space, Bio-Rad’s Alice Schwartz and 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki also were recognized by Forbes
At $6.5 billion net worth, Forbes, in its 2021 list of the 100 richest self-made women in the US, ranked Judith Faulkner, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Epic Systems Corp., in second place overall. But in the industry of healthcare, she tops the list by far. The next nearest healthcare-related “richest woman” is Alice Schwartz, co-founder of Bio-Rad Laboratories, at $2.9 billion.
Richest Self-Made Women in Healthcare
Becker’s Hospital Review highlighted the seven richest “self-made” women who ran healthcare-related companies. They include:
- Judith Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic, ranked 2nd, net worth $6.5 billion.
- Alice Schwartz, co-founder of Bio-Rad Laboratories, ranked 10th, net worth $2.9 billion.
- April Anthony, founder of Encompass Home Health and Hospice, ranked 37th, net worth $760 million.
- Reshma Shetty, PhD, co-founder of biotechnology company Ginkgo Bioworks, ranked 39th, net worth $750 million.
- Heather Hasson and Trina Spear, co-founders and co-CEOs of FIGS (direct-to-consumer healthcare apparel and scrubs), ranked 50th and 52nd, net worth $625 million and $600 million respectively.
- Martine Rothblatt, founder of pharmaceutical company United Therapeutics, ranked 56th, net worth $585 million.
Also listed by Forbes was Anne Wojcicki, CEO and founder of 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company. Wojcicki’s net worth of $1.1 billion puts her in the 25th position, according to Forbes.
In “Genetic Test Company 23andMe Completes Merger with Richard Branson’s VG Acquisition Corp., Stock Now Trades on NASDAQ,” Dark Daily noted that since the Sunnyvale, Calif. direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing company will now be filing quarterly earnings reports, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will have the opportunity to learn more about how 23andMe serves the consumer market for genetic types and how it is generating revenue from its huge database containing the genetic sequences from millions of people.
How did Faulkner Make Epic So Epic?
It all started in 1979 when Faulkner and a colleague invested $70,000 to launch Human Services Computing, which became Epic, noted Forbes in “The Billionaire Who Controls Your Medical Records.”
“I always liked making things out of clay. And the computer was clay of the mind. Instead of physical, it was mental,” Faulkner, who is 77, told Forbes.
Company milestones noted by Forbes include:
- Inking a deal in 2004 with Kaiser Permanente for a three-year, $400-million project.
- Moving in 2005 to a corporate campus in southern Wisconsin—an “adult Disney World” with the largest underground auditoriums and more “fantastical” buildings.
- More recently, AdventHealth of Altamonte Springs, Fla., contracted with Epic for a $650 million remote build and installation.
“Epic’s system has tentacles that go out through amazing networks. You can actually help a person get the care they need wherever they need to get it,” AdventHealth’s CEO Terry Shaw told Forbes.
In about two years, Epic plans to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) Electronic Health Record (EHR) documentation tool aimed at transcribing clinician and patient conversations in real-time, EHR Intelligence reported.
However, Epic may face competition from IT startups in areas including ancillary services, where clinical laboratories, for example, are seeking genomic data storage and introducing new genetic tests, according to Becker’s Hospital Review in its report on analysis by CB Insights, titled, “Unbundling Epic: How The Electronic Health Record Market Is Being Disrupted.”
“I think that what will happen is that a few of them will do very well. And the majority of them won’t. “It’s not us as much as the health systems who have to respond to the patient saying, ‘Send my data here,’ or ‘Send my data there,’” Faulkner told Forbes.
Bio-Rad’s Alice Schwartz an IVD ‘Pioneer’
As Faulkner rose to prominence in healthcare IT, Alice Schwartz of Bio-Rad Laboratories found massive success in the in vitro diagnostics industry.
She and her late husband, David, started Bio-Rad with $720 in 1952 in Berkeley, Calif. They were intent on offering life science products and services aimed at identifying, separating, purifying, and analyzing chemical and biological materials, notes the company’s website.
“They were at the right place and at the right time as they became pioneers in the industry,” International Business Times (IBT) stated.
Bio-Rad Laboratories (NYSE:BIO and BIOb) of Hercules, Calif., offers life science research and clinical diagnostic products. The company’s second quarter (Q2) 2021 net sales were $715.9 million, an increase of about 33% compared to $536.9 million in Q2 2020, according to a news release. Its Clinical Diagnostics segment Q2 sales were $380 million, an increase of 34% compared to 2020.
Norman Schwartz, the founders’ son, is Bio-Rad’s Chairman of the Board,
President, and CEO. However, at age 94, Alice Schwartz, the oldest person on Forbes’ richest self-made women list, “has no sign of stopping soon,” IBT reported.
Lists are fun. Medical laboratory and diagnostics professionals may admire such foresight and perseverance. Judith Faulkner and Alice Schwartz are extraordinary examples of innovative thinkers in healthcare. There are others—many in clinical laboratories and pathology groups.
—Donna Marie Pocius