THE MONEY: Big payday for retired spinal surgeon and inventor came in 2005 with $1.35 billion settlement from medical device giant Medtronic over device and patent licenses. Builds on that base via Karlin Asset Management, whose affiliates invest in distressed real estate and debt, teak forest cultivation and early stage companies, among other opportunities. Karlin Real Estate recently opened London office to target European opportunities.

BUZZ: Profits generated by West L.A.-based Karlin Asset support broad portfolio of philanthropies. Medical research trust and three foundations promote animal welfare, access to free and low-cost e-textbooks for college students, and aid medical researchers and inventors who can’t find funding elsewhere. Gave USC $50 million in January toward construction of USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, which will house about 30 bioscience research labs. Funded research program last summer at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital to create vaccine against hard-to-treat parasitic worms, which plague more than 1 billion people. Owner of several rescue dogs and cats, his Found Animals Foundation recently launched organic pet products e-commerce site to fund pet adoption centers. Continues to offer $25 million prize for creation of a safe nonsurgical means to sterilize pets. Lobbies for stronger patent protection, legacy of long battle with Medtronic. Philadelphia native inspired to become surgeon after grandmother developed rare spinal condition. Holds 600 U.S. and foreign patents, many developed in garage lab after day of surgery at Inglewood’s Centinela Hospital.


$1.7 billion s6.9%

LAST YEAR: $1.59 billion

AGE: 65

RESIDENCE: Los Angeles

SOURCES OF WEALTH: Surgical devices, patents, investments

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