Biotech stalwarts to be honored with Padma Bhushan Award

Dr Cyrus Poonawalla of Serum Institute of India; and Dr Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella of Bharat Biotech have found their place in the just released list of Padma Awards. They will be honored with Padma Bhushan for the role played by their companies during Covid-19 pandemic

New Delhi: Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII); and Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman, Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech along with Suchitra Ella, Director of the company are all set to be bestowed with Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the country, preceded by the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan and followed by the Padma Shri.
Both pharmaceutical firms – SII and Bharat Biotech – have led the country towards becoming self-sufficient in Covid-19 vaccines production and making them available at the lowest possible price in the world.
Born in 1941 in a Parsi family, Cyrus S Poonawalla is a billionaire businessman and the Chairman and Managing Director of the Cyrus Poonawalla Group, which includes the Serum Institute of India.
In 2021, Cyrus was ranked number 5 on Fortunes’ India rich list with a net worth of $19 billion. He founded the SII in 1966 and built it to the largest vaccine manufacturer (by doses) in the world. Serum produces over 1.5 billion doses annually of a range of vaccines, including for measles, polio and flu, according to Wikipedia.
He has been already awarded Padma Shri for his contribution to the field of medicine in 2005. In November 2007, he got the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the category of Healthcare and Life Sciences.
Bharat Biotech founders get recognition
Born in 1969 in Tamil Nadu, Dr Krishna Ella started off his career by joining the pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer, as part of its agricultural division. Later, he left to the United States to pursue his education. He returned to India and set up a small lab in Hyderabad in 1996 and named it Bharat Biotech.
Under Dr. Ella’s leadership, Bharat Biotech has grown to become a global leader in innovative vaccine. A serial entrepreneur with a passion for innovative ideas, Dr. Ella has also ventured into veterinary vaccines, food processing, and developing biotechnology infrastructure in the country, according to Bharat Biotech’s official website.
He has been awarded with many awards including the ET Now Special Recognition for Healthcare Industry Award, J R D Tata—Best Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Marico Innovation Award and University of Southern California—Asia-Pacific Leadership Award.
Ella’s company is the first to manufacture a preservative-free vaccine (Revac-B mcf Hepatitis B Vaccine), and launch India’s first cell-cultured Swine Flu vaccine. They also manufacture the world’s cheapest Hepatitis vaccines. Bharat Biotech is the first in the world to find a vaccine for the Zika virus, according to Wikipedia.
On the other hand, his wife and the Joint Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, Suchitra Ella oversees a wide range of operations in the company and has a vast experience in experience in customer operations, finance, marketing and business development related work. Several awards have been conferred on Suchitra Ella including the South Indian Business Achievers Award 2016, Zee TV Best Women Entrepreneur Award, SAARC Women Entrepreneur Award etc.