India’s second richest woman nearly doubles her wealth to $4.6 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic

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  • Half of the billionaires, including Mukesh Ambani, Radhakishan Damani, Gautam Adani, Cyrus Poonawalla, saw significant gains in their wealth.
  • The biggest percentage gainer was 67-year old Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Biocon founder and the second richest woman in India.
  • While Biocon has joined the race to discover the vaccine, Shaw was not immune to COVID-19. She tested positive in August and recovered in a fortnight.
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India’s super-rich club of 100 people has added nine new faces and about $88 billion collectively during the coronavirus pandemic — which is assumed to be far worse than the Great Depression.

Half of the billionaires, including Mukesh Ambani, Radhakishan Damani, Gautam Adani, Cyrus Poonawalla saw significant gains — taking the collective net worth of 100 billionaires to $517.5 billion, Forbes reported.

The biggest percentage gainer was 67-year old Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Biocon founder and the second richest woman in India. Her wealth has nearly doubled from $2.38 billion in 2019 to $4.6 billion in 2020 — a whopping 93.28% gain among India's 100 richest. She is one of the only five women billionaires in India.

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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw started her Indian-based pharma company about 42 years ago with merely two employees and $500 funds. However, it was not until 2014 that her company became a publicly-traded entity. It touched the $1billion mark on the very day it listed.

Over the past decade, Biocon has grown by leaps and bounds to become a $5 billion company. In just the last 12 months, Biocon’s share price has surged 99% from ₹233 in October 2019 to ₹464.70 currently.

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While her company has joined the race to discover a vaccine to fight the virus, Shaw wasn’t immune to it. On August 16, she tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered 15 days later. Shaw has been vocal about leveraging science to contain the virus.
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Three months after coronavirus broke out in India, Biocon announced that it would launch biologic drug Itolizumab for the treatment of moderate to severe COVID-19 patients at a price of around ₹8,000 per vial. The pharmaceutical is set to begin the phase-4 trials of the potential drug.

Well, Shaw might have gained the most, but Mukesh Ambani’s record gains have left everyone behind. He remains India’s richest man for the 13th year in the running and leads by a large margin. Ambani added $37.3 billion to his fortune, thanks to the trail of investments in Reliance Jio and his retail venture. Jio alone got $20 billion investments from investors like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

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