Cover Story | Open Minds 2020: A Race Against Time
Adar Poonawalla, 39, CEO, Serum Institute of India
31 Jul, 2020
(Photo: Forbes India/Vikas Khot)
Adar Poonawalla has been described as the important figure in the global vaccine race who doesn’t work in a lab. That’s because he owns the next most important thing—a vaccine manufacturing plant. Poonawalla, and his father before him, have built a vaccine empire, churning out around 150 crore doses annually against diseases such a meningitis, measles and tetanus. Poonawalla’s company is working on five potential Covid-19 vaccines, the most promising being the one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Poonawalla, contracted to manufacture 150 crore doses of these for developing countries, has already begun manufacturing them in order to save on time if the final trials show they are effective. If and when a vaccine finally becomes ready, Poonawalla is going to play a crucial role in how quickly people get access to it.