HTLS 2020: At the forefront of the race for Covid-19 vaccine

Adar Poonawalla is the CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally (more than 1.5 billion doses). It supplies affordable life-saving vaccines approved by World Health Organization to at least 170 countries. The Pune-based family-owned company was founded in 1966 by Cyrus Poonawalla with the aim of manufacturing lifesaving immunobiological drugs including vaccines.

Poonawalla joined his father’s company in 2001 after graduating from the University of Westminster in London, and became the CEO in 2011. He focused on developing the company’s international market and on getting new products licensed and pre-qualified by WHO to supply to United Nations agencies. He also initiated and launched SII’s Oral Polio Vaccine in 2014. The company is at the forefront of manufacturing a coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine candidate in an effort to arrest the pandemic stalking the world.

In 2012, he founded The Villoo Poonawalla Charitable Foundation along with his wife in memory of his late mother to address education, health care and sanitation issues.

The foundation provides clean drinking water at 30 locations, has eight schools with over 10,000 children being educated and a charitable hospital.

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