The Young Vaccine King

The Young Vaccine King

  • Reading time:2 mins read

By Mudit Jain

Adar Poonawalla is an Indian businessman, and the CEO of Serum Institute of India, a company founded by his father Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla, better known as Vaccine King of India. Founded in 1996, Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by the number of doses produced. Adar Poonawalla is also a board member of the GAVI Alliance, a global vaccine alliance. 

In 2001, after graduating from the University of Westminster, London, Adar Poonawalla joined the Serum Institute of India. After learning the nuances of the vaccine business, he took a seat on Serum Institute of India’s board of directors in 2005. At that time, the company was exporting its products to 35 countries. He concentrated on the company’s international market, licencing of products, and getting pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) for supply to United Nations Agencies including UNICEF and PAHO. 10 years after joining the company, he became the CEO of the Serum Institute of India. A year later in 2012, the company acquired Bilthoven Biologicals, a Netherlands-based government vaccine manufacturing company. In 2017, Serum Institute of India became the largest vaccine producing company in the world in terms of the number of doses produced annually. The company produces more than 1.5 billion doses of a range of vaccines annually including vaccines for measles, polio, flu, and COVID-19. Ever since Adar took reins of Serum Institute by becoming its CEO in 2011, the company has flourished at a tremendous pace, spreading its wings of supply from nearly 35 countries in 2005 to more than 145 countries in 2020.

Adar Poonawalla has recently been acknowledged worldwide for his unparalleled contribution in fighting against the Covid-19 Pandemic by successfully producing and supplying huge quantities of Covishield globally in partnership with Swedish Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and University of Oxford. In 2020, he was named in Fortune Magazine’s global ’40 under 40′ list as well being adjudged Entrepreneur of the Year by Economic Times.