Adar Poonawalla is the CEO of Serum Institute of India, established by his father, Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla, also regarded as the Vaccine King of India. Serum Institute of India, founded in 1996, is the world’s biggest vaccine supplier in terms of doses produced. In addition, Adar Poonawalla serves on the board of the GAVI Alliance, an international vaccine alliance.
The Story Of Adar Poonawala
Adar Poonawalla was born in Mumbai and raised in Dubai. The Poonawalla family was directly involved in the Indian freedom movement in the 1930s and 1940s. His father, a political refugee from British India, grew up with memories of injustice. His uncle, Dr. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, is best known as the founder of the Hindutva political movement, which mobilizes around the notion of Hindu nationalism. As an engineering student at King’s College London, Poonawalla got his hands dirty during a UN emergency fund-raising event at Heathrow Airport in 1995. During the brief visit to the United Kingdom, he formed a strong bond with the UK’s foreign secretary Robin Cook. Cook was invited to a dinner at the Poonawalla home in Mumbai.
Adar Poonawala’s Childhood And Study Life
A graduate from Bombay University, Adar Poonawalla began his career with the family business. In 2004, he joined Serum Institute as a scientist and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a senior management team member. From 2006 to 2009, Adar Poonawalla worked as a Director with Nestle for 12 months, leading corporate development projects and projects outside of India. While at Nestle, Adar Poonawalla initiated the formulation of a new category of products for the company, including the introduction of the R-210 infant formula. Poonawalla had been watching the infant formula market intensely and had observed that its growth was not as fast as that of other categories. There were many producers of infant formula with outdated manufacturing processes.
The Life Of A refugee
Adar’s family was not just a family of five brothers and sisters, but a family of eight. Adar’s father was born in Poland to a Hindu family and immigrated to India after his family was forced to flee during the pogrom in Poland in 1941. Adar’s father, Dr. Cyrus S. Poonawalla, was the founder and Chairman of Serum Institute of India, which produces vaccines for food and drug allergies. “We are fortunate that we are a small and medium business in India. We have a five-member board of directors who are all wealthy investors who can help support us in difficult times. We are a mission-driven organization that doesn’t just make the company bigger but helps save lives through our vaccines,” says Adar.
From India To The USA
Born to Iranian immigrants in Maharashtra, India, Adar and his family moved to the United States in 1988. Adar’s parents wanted their children to be exposed to more Westernized experiences than life in rural India, so Adar attended school in both New York City and Santa Barbara, California. While studying political science at Santa Barbara College of Law, Adar interned for the office of Republican Congressman George Miller. After working in California, Adar moved to New York City to pursue a career in law. Soon, he was exposed to the financial crisis and decided to drop out of law school and pursue his passion for business. He went to work for the Poonawalla Group in Mumbai, the family business.
The Beginning Of Serum Institute
Adar Poonawalla was born into a close-knit family. “My father started Serum Institute of India because he wanted the world to have access to affordable, quality vaccines. It was a noble ambition,” he told Forbes in 2017.
“He saw that to achieve this goal, he would need the support of many different stakeholders.” Adar’s father worked on the research for the cancer vaccine Rubella, which resulted in the development of RotaTeq (the world’s first approved transgenic measles-rubella vaccine) and several vaccines against hepatitis B and yellow fever. “I was very young when my father started Serum Institute, but I have clear memories of being in the lab and being around him,” he said. “He had a natural charisma.
Cyrus Poonawalla And GAVI
Lucy Nicholson Adar Poonawalla came from a relatively large family consisting of his parents, grandparents, brother, and sister. His whole family helped in the business operations of Serum Institute of India. His parents both graduated with honors in Chemistry and practiced in laboratories in India. Adar’s grandfather, V. N. P. Shah, was the first Indian professor of chemistry at the University of Cambridge. His mother, the Rani, worked as an accountant with British Aerospace. In 2007, Adar received an MBA from INSEAD in Singapore. After graduating from INSEAD, Adar began his working life with McKinsey & Company in London before returning to India to work at the family-owned Serum Institute of India.
The Achievements Of Adar Poonawala
Adar Poonawalla is a successful Indian businessman and the CEO of Serum Institute of India, a company founded by his father, Dr. Cyrus 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 2003, the Serum Institute of India received a $1 billion investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for vaccine manufacturing. This success helped increase the production of the Serum Institute of India to 40 million vaccines per year, which includes vaccines for Polio, Measles, Rubella, and Diphtheria, in addition to 700 million doses of them for the North African countries.
According to Adar Poonawalla, “My vision is to make Serum Institute the most ethical and sustainable pharmaceutical company in the world.” Very shortly, Adar Poonawalla hopes to focus on strategic investments in established life sciences companies, to serve the healthcare community better globally. He also sees the possibility of taking Serum Institute public and developing an endowment fund to support Serum Institute’s philanthropic programs. Author Bio Daryl Coley is a digital nomad who has worked in diverse industries over the years. Daryl’s career journey includes information technology, financial services, content management, and the non-profit sector.