Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, executive chairperson and managing director of Biocon, India’s largest biopharmaceutical country has been named EY World Entrepreneur of the year for 2020.
The 67-year-old Biocon MD is the second woman to have won the award after Olivia Lum of Hyflux Limited from Singapore was conferred with the title in 2011. In India, she is the third to have been picked for this prestigious accolade besides Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank and Narayana Murthy of Infosys Technologies Limited.
Kiran was felicitated at a one-of-its-kind virtual award ceremony. She was selected from among 46 nominations from 41 countries.
On winning the award, Kiran said, “Wealth creation can be a catalyst for change, and all entrepreneurs have a responsibility to the world around them and the communities in which they operate. Women also play a hugely important role in economic development, and for too long their contribution has been ignored. It’s important that we use the platform of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year to encourage more women to participate in entrepreneurial pursuits. I’m truly honored to receive this prestigious award.”
Kiran had founded Biocon, a bio-enzymes company in 1978 in the garage of her rented house in Bengaluru with only two employees and US $500. A year later Biocon became the first Indian company to export enzymes to the US and UK. Today, Biocon has become a trailblazer in the field of biotechnology in Asia – the company currently employees more than 11,000 people and clocked revenues of US$800 million in 2019.
Besides having established itself as a world leader in the areas of fermentation-based small molecules, human insulin, biosimilars, Biocon has played a pivotal role in making life-saving medicines affordable - more than 2 billion affordable doses of biosimilar insulins have been supplied to patients globally in the last 15 years. In 2019, the company also announced its plans of supplying rh-insulin at one-third prices to low and middle income countries.
Manny Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of Moose Toys and Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel, said, “Kiran is an inspirational entrepreneur who demonstrates that determination, perseverance and a willingness to innovate can create long-term value. The judging panel were impressed by her ability to build and sustain growth over the past 30 years and by her integrity and passion for philanthropy that has delivered huge global impact.”
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business awards programme for unstoppable entrepreneurs. The EY Entrepreneur of the Year award celebrates entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries.
Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, sad, “Kiran’s passion to develop low-cost, cutting-edge pharmaceutical alternatives has brought affordable health care to patient communities all around the world. Her drive to innovate has created huge growth for Biocon Limited and helped diversify the company’s portfolio of therapies for chronic diseases.”
Biocon is also leading the race among pharmaceuticals for developing test kits and clinical trials for drugs that can combat covid-19. Syngene International Ltd, which is the company’s research arm recently developed an ELISA antibody testing kit and has tied up with HiMedia Laboratories for manufacturing and distribution of the kits. Biocon has also started clinical trials for the drug itolizumab to treat complications in severe cases of coronavirus.