Cyrus Poonawala to receive Lokmanya Tilak Award

The founder of the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune, businessman Cyrus Poonawalla has been named the winner of the prestigious National Lokmanya Tilak Award 2021.He will be commended for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic and how his company helped save many lives by creating the Covishield vaccine and then making provided the medicine to the citizens of the country at an affordable price.Although the awards ceremony takes place on August 1 each year on the anniversary of the Freedom Fighter’s death, this epidemic-stricken year the award has been scheduled for August 13. The prize includes a cash prize of 1,00,000 rupees and souvenirs for the winners. The award was first presented in the year 1983. Winners include former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee; Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy and former President Pranab Mukherjee.

Cyrus poonawalla

Cyrus S. Poonawalla (born in 1941) is an Indian billionaire businessman, and the chairman & managing director of the Cyrus Poonawalla Group, which includes the Serum Institute of India, an Indian biotech company which is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world. In 2021, he was ranked number eight on Forbes’ India rich list with a net worth of $12.7 billion. Poonwalla founded the Serum Institute of India in 1966 and built it to the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world by doses. Serum produces over 1.5 billion doses annually of a range of vaccines, including for measles, polio and flu. In May 2019, it was reported that Poonawalla, in partnership with Naum Koen, had proposed supplying Ukraine with 100 thousand doses of the measles vaccine for free vaccination.

Serum institute of India [SII]

Serum Institute of India (SII) is an Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines located in the city of Pune, India and was founded by Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966. The company is a subsidiary of the holding company Poonawalla Investment and Industries. he company set out to produce immunobiologicals, which were imported into India at high prices. Among the first products the Serum Institute of India manufactured in large quantities were the tetanus antitoxin, snake antivenom, DPT vaccine, and MMR vaccine. The company’s product lines was expanded to include different types of vaccines against bacterial or virus infections, combination vaccines, influenza vaccine, and meningococcal vaccine. Besides vaccine the company also manufactures antisera, blood plasma, and hormone products. As of 2014 the vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India have been used in international vaccination programmes run by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Today the Serum Institute of India is run by the Poonawalla Group and engages in research, development, and manufacturing.

The company has partnered with the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which is developing AZD1222 (Covishield) in partnership with the University of Oxford. It is reported that Serum Institute of India would provide 100 million (10 crore) doses of the vaccine for India and other low and middle-income countries. This target was later increased to 1 billion doses by the end of 2021. It is estimated to be priced at ₹225 (around $3) per dose.In September 2020, trials were halted by DCGI after a volunteer in Oxford developed illness following vaccination, but were soon resumed after consent by the British regulators. In December 2020, the Serum Institute of India sought emergency approval for the vaccine developed with AstraZeneca which was approved a month later. In March 2021, an agreement was reached to supply some doses to the UK.