Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, who debuted in the pharma industry with two employees and $500 becomes EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2020

Biocon Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar ShawIANS

  • On June 5, Biocon’s Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was named as EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2020.
  • With this, she joined Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank and Narayana Murthy of Infosys, who were awarded with this honour in 2014 and 2005, respectively.
  • She founded the India-based pharma company Biocon with merely two employees and funds worth $500.
  • In 2014, Biocon became the first biopharma company to be a publicly-traded entity and the second company to touch the $1 billion mark on the very first day of the listing.
In 1978, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw founded the India-based pharma company Biocon with merely two employees and funds worth $500. 42 years later, Shaw has been named as EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2020.


With this, she has joined the likes of Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank and Narayana Murthy of Infosys, who were awarded with this honour in 2014 and 2005 respectively. The virtual award ceremony was held on June 5 — and she was chosen from over 46 entrepreneurs from 41 countries.

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“She has built India's largest biopharmaceutical company on a foundation of compassionate capitalism and putting patient needs before profits,” Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel said.

An aspiring Brewmaster who opened a bio-enzymes company

IANS

Kiran, who graduated from Australia in 1975 wanted to work as a Brewmaster — a person who looks after everything that goes in the process of making a beer. Little did she know, the brewing industry — which is highly male-dominated in India — will not accept a woman in the role.

But, that did not stop her. Two years down the line, she started Biocon in a rented house in Bengaluru where they produced the bio enzymes in the garage. A year of struggle and Biocon became the first such company in India that exported enzymes to other countries like the US and Europe.
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Years later, in 2004, she came up with Biocon Foundation — which aims to provide healthcare and sanitation facilities and diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases to weaker sections of the society.

Bicon goes public

IANS

In 2014, Biocon became the first biopharma company to be a publicly-traded entity and the second company to touch the $1 billion mark on the very first day of the listing.

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Over the years, the bio-enzymes major — which is now one of the prominent biotech giants in Asia — grew multifold to become a $5 billion company. Today, Biocon provides healthcare requirements like insulin for diabetes, biosimilars for those fighting cancer, arthritis and other severe diseases. The company reported revenue worth $800 million, as of FY19 and employees more than 11,000 people.

In fact, Biocon has created its mark where other pharma giants are struggling and has a presence in over 120 countries. That includes fermentation-based molecules, human insulin, contract research services and more.

That may be because of the affordability of the products. In September 2019, Biocon announced the supply of a special kind of insulin to middle income companies on low prices — in fact, less than a third of the current prices.

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Meanwhile, Shaw has been an angel investor for a lot of startups in the healthcare domain including those in areas like breast cancer screening, chemotherapy and others.

In times of the global pandemic

While the world is waiting with bated breath for a vaccine to treat coronavirus, Shaw believes that it will take at least nine months for the COVID-19 vaccine to enter clinical trials in India.

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She also said that there will be multiple waves before the coronavirus curve flattens as community spread remains a key challenge in India.

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