PUNE: Covishield maker Serum Institute of India (SII)’s founder-owner Dr Cyrus Poonawalla has been named among this year’s awardees for Padma Bhushan.
Son of a horse breeder,

AdvertisementDr Poonawalla founded the SII in 1966 and built it into the world’s largest vaccine maker since then. His strong belief in “no compromise with quality” and commitment to “health for all with affordable vaccines” have led SII to become India’s top biotech company.
“Health is one of the strongest pillars of society, and I will continue to work towards making it equitable for all,” Dr Poonawalla said, after the list was Padma awardees was announced on Tuesday.
“It is a great privilege for me to be amongst a prestigious list of illustrious people who have contributed to the growth of our country. I would like to express my gratitude to the government of India for this honour,” Dr Poonawalla said.
Known for his passion for cars, Dr Poonawalla has a fascinating collection of sports cars and custom-built limousines. He, along with his son and SII’s CEO Adar Poonawalla, has invested $800 million to build a new factory in Pune to make Covid-19 vaccines.
In addition to manufacturing Covishield, which has been developed by US-based AstraZeneca and Oxford University, SII has multiple Covid-19 vaccine partnerships.
In his 80s, Dr Poonawalla did his early education at Bishops School and graduated from Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC) in 1966.
He was awarded a PhD by the Pune University in 1988 for his thesis, entitled “Improved Technology in the manufacture of specific Anti-toxins and its socio-economic impact on the Society”.