Adar Poonawalla

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Adar Poonawalla
Adar Poonawalla and Cyrus Poonawalla at the 4th Asian Awards
Adar Poonawalla (on left) and Cyrus Poonawalla at the 4th Asian Awards
Born (1981-01-14) 14 January 1981 (age 41)
EducationThe Bishop's School (Pune)
St Edmund's School Canterbury
Alma materUniversity of Westminster
TitleCEO, Serum Institute of India
Chairman, Magma Fincorp
(m. 2006)

Adar Poonawalla (born 14 January 1981) is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Serum Institute of India.[2] Founded in 1966 by his father, Cyrus Poonawalla, it is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced.[3]


Adar Poonawalla was educated at The Bishop's School (Pune) and at the St Edmund's School Canterbury followed by the University of Westminster.[4]


Poonawalla joined the Serum Institute of India in 2001 after graduating from university. Then exporting its products to 35 countries, Poonawalla concentrated on the company's international market, new products license and getting pre-qualified by the World Health Organization for supply to United Nations Agencies including UNICEF and PAHO. As of 2015, he has helped the company export its products to over 140 countries; 85 percent of its revenues are from overseas.[5][6]

In 2011, he became the CEO. In 2012, he played a major role in the acquisition of Bilthoven Biologicals, a Netherlands-based government vaccine manufacturing company.[7][8] Poonawalla is a board member of the GAVI Alliance, the global vaccine alliance.[9]

He initiated and launched in 2014; Serum Institute's oral polio vaccine, which became a bestseller for the company. It was reported that he planned to expand the product portfolio to include vaccines for dengue, flu and cervical cancer during the same year.[6] Presently he is the CEO of Serum Institute of India.

On the 31st of May 2021, he was appointed as the chairman of Magma Fincorp, after acquiring a 66% stake in the financial services company.[10][11]

Threats demanding COVID-19 vaccines[edit]

In an interview with ‘The Times’, Poonawalla declared that he left India for London because of threats demanding COVID-19 vaccines.[12][13] Poonawalla also said that he will start Covid vaccine production outside India in addition to the ongoing production in India.[14][15] He was provided with ‘Y’ category security by the Indian government as the threats were made public.[16]


In 2020, SII announced that it would donate $66 million to the University of Oxford to fund the creation of the Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building.[17][18]


  • In 2016, he was listed by GQ Magazine and awarded Philanthropist of the year.[19]
  • In 2017, he received Humanitarian Endeavour Award In Hall of Fame Awards 2017[20] and was also awarded as Indian of the Year in CSR Business Category on CNN-News18[21]
  • In 2018, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis presented the ET Edge Maharashtra Achievers Awards of Business Leader of the Year to Poonawala,[22] he further received CNBC Asia's award for Corporate Social Responsibility in the same year[23]
  • In 2020, Poonawalla was included in a Fortune magazine's '40 Under 40' listing in the healthcare category.[24]
  • In 2021, Adar has been adjudged Entrepreneur of the Year by Economic Times for unparalleled contribution in fighting Covid-19 by successfully supplying huge quantities of Covishield in India and globally, a vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and produced in India by Serum Institute.[25]
  • In 2021, Adar was included on the Time 100, Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.[26]


  1. ^ "Farm fatale: When billionaire Adar Poonawala's glamourouswife Natasha posed with a horse!". The Economic Times. 28 October 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  2. ^ "The Real Vaccine Billionaires of India Maharashtra" – via
  3. ^ Narayan, Adi (15 June 2011). "Billionaire-Led Indian Drugmaker's Vaccine Beats Glaxo in Study". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Westminster alumnus-led vaccine manufacturer set to play leading role in large scale production of coronavirus vaccine | University of Westminster, London". Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  5. ^ Dangor, Kimi (6 June 2005). "The private tycoons". India Today. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  6. ^ a b "How Cyrus Poonawalla's son, Adar Poonawalla is boldly changing course of the family business". The Economic Times. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Serum acquires Dutch firm Bilthoven for over Rs. 550 crore". Business Line. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Serum Institute of India buys Dutch vaccine maker for $40.3 mn". NDTV Profit. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Governance".
  10. ^ Gopakumar, Gopika (31 May 2021). "Adar Poonawalla appointed as chairman of Magma Fincorp". mint.
  11. ^ Karmali, Naazneen. "India's 10 Richest Billionaires 2021". Forbes. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  12. ^ Kapur, Manavi. "India's vaccine czar has left the country for the UK due to "unprecedented" threats". Quartz.
  13. ^ "'Getting aggressive calls from powerful people': Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla on vaccine pressure | India News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  14. ^ "Serum chief flies to UK to escape 'threats' from CMs, corporates biggies".
  15. ^ "'Everything falls on my shoulders': Adar Poonawalla on vaccine pressure in India". mint. 1 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Centre grants Y category security to Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla amid threats over Covishield supplies".
  17. ^ "India's billionaire Poonawallas pledge $66m to Oxford University". Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  18. ^ "£50m funding for Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building at Oxford University | University of Oxford". Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  19. ^ "GQ Awards Men of the Year – Philanthropist". GQ India. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Got Humanitarian Endeavour Award". Biz Asia. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Adar Poonawalla is Indian of the Year in CSR Business Category". CNN News 18. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  22. ^ "CM Devendra Fadnavis presents the Business Leader of the Year Award to Adar Poonawala". Femina. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Adar Poonawalla received the CNBC Asia's award for Corporate Social Responsibility of the year". Livemint. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Adar Poonawalla | 2020 40 under 40 in Health". Fortune. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  25. ^ "ET Awards: Adar Poonawalla, doing India proud with a small jab, and a big gamble". The Economic Times. 8 February 2021.
  26. ^ "PM Modi, Mamata, Adar Poonawalla among Time Magazine's 100 'most influential people of 2021'". The Indian Express. 15 September 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.

External links[edit]