Nicodemus West was a former doctor who tried to save Doctor Strange's Hands, but failed.
He felt guilty because he felt that his own incompetence as a doctor had destroyed Stranges hands, and that way he was indirectly guilty to the deaths of all those who Strange couldn`t save. He wanted to repair the severed nerves in Stranges hands, and therfore went to look for him. And to tibet, he went. To the sanctorum of the Ancient one.
Ancient one decided to teach Nicodemus, of the mystic arts. Because though Stephen Starnge was supposed to be his last student, he changed his mind. One more.
Nicodemus was too anxious to learn everything that he needed to. So left early, wanted to cure with his newfound abilities. But it backfired. He killed someone, accidentally.
He was approached by two members of Timely Pharmaceuticals. If West would become the C..E.O. of the company and never use his magical powers (which would prove to be a threat to their income) again, they`d sweep the incident under a rug. This was done.
Later, when Doctor Strange found the cure for all diseases, Nicodemus hired Brigand to steal it. West was determined to get rid of it. After all, would it not be for diseases, there`d be even more of an over population.
After a long chase, Strange finally faced Nicodemus. The two fought, and the battle ended in Nicodemus`s demise. The cure was unintentionally washed down the drain (except for one drop, that Strange used on Wong, who was dying at the moment).