Adar Poonawalla: A Man who can see beyond Visible
Adar Poonawalla is an Indian Billionaire, Entrepreneur & philanthropist. He is CEO of Serum Institute of India, a biopharmaceutical company which was incorporated in 1966 by Adar’s father Cyrus Poonawalla. Adar Poonawalla’s net worth accounted at $12.7 billion (2022). Serum Institute of India is the biggest vaccine maker company with higher number of doses it produced. Adar Poonawalla is a big name who has moulded the discourse of family business to greater heights. He is widely known as “India’s Vaccine Prince”.
A 33 year old graduate from University of Westminster is the futuristic entrepreneur having a sight to see beyond visible. He is a son of veteran billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla and Villoo Poonawalla. Being a son of an affluent parsis family, Adar gets everything served on his table. He did his schooling from St. Edmund’s School, Canterbury and graduation from University of Westminster. As soon as he completed his graduation, he was considered to be purely capable of handling his family business. He puts his feet in a well-established venture and determined to keep it alive and making it better and bigger than it has ever been.
However, putting everything in words are much easier than applying it in behaviour. The journey so far for Adar has been challenging but equally inspiring as well. At the early age of 21, positioned yourself into a business which is for years has been a symbol of Poonawalla’s identity was a task demanding high attention.
There were many stances where Adar specified that his father has greater stakes in every decision making. He has even stated that his father has undo various decisions taken by him. Talking more about his management style, Adar emphasised on Micro-management while defining that nothing is too small for us to look into. Adar has counted some more of the shortcomings of the business he holds. The nature of company is centralised in such a way that recruitment from outside is quite tough. It is less empowering and participative. It has an individually driven business model. however, things are changing slightly.
Besides that, what Adar has given to this company is completely visible through company’s recognition worldwide. When Adar joined the company, it is basically restricted to soil of India and merely operate in handful of 20-30 foreign lands. With the vision of “go global”, Adar expanded the business relationship with as many as countries which brought huge returns to the company. Today, the business has made its presence in 145 countries.
Another spectacular achievement by Adar Poonawalla is the launch of the Serum Institute’s oral polio vaccine which proved a revolution in the vaccine history. The man behind the injectable polio vaccine was Adar Poonawalla. It all started when in 2012, the WHO sent an urgency letter to the Serum Institute requesting to eradicate the demand-supply gap formed due to scarcity of polio vaccines globally.
The world would have been drowned in the destructive waves of Polio disease, if Serum would not have produced the needed amount. the profit was negligible, and investment was high. His father was not in support. But Adar knew what was actually needed to be done. He recalled the memory of injectable polio vaccines which were made in their units in Netherlands. In a bulk, drugs were imported from Indonesia and production was started. Rest is the history! The product has been in Bestseller till today.
A tough time of Covid-19 pandemic which was a major outbreak hollowed the greatest of institutions of the world. Countless of lives were at stake. It was the time of the decade, when pandemic was not a phenomenon alive only in our history books, it was a dreadful reality. Serum Institute of India was the very first company in India endowed with the responsibility of manufacturing vaccines for a disease which was undetectable and has no source of origin. In the leadership of Adar and cooperation with all the stakeholders, long months of trials both clinically & physically, vaccines were produced in large amounts. As per the data, initially around 70 million doses of Covishield vaccine doses by May 2021.
Presently, Adar is more inclined towards doing research, making high investments in producing vaccines for newly emerging diseases, which are complex and has a potential to kill human. Serum invests USD 100-120 million a year in their research & development.
Adar is designated with various esteemed positions and accolades. He was made brand ambassador of Swachh Bharat Campaign. He is entitled with Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 by Economic Times for his remarkable contribution during covid-19. He received many other awards like Hurun National Icon for Philanthropy (2019), India of the Year-CSR category (2020), Forbes India Leadership Awards GenNext Entrepreneur (2018). Adar Poonawalla comes under the list of wealthiest persons in India.
Adar Poonawalla is fond of European art and has a collection of European paintings made by the European’s prolific artists like Van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Rembrandt and Renoir. Recently, Adar has acquired an oil-canvas painting of Tyeb Mehta in an online auction at the cost of Rs. 17.75 crore.
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