Big shot: ‘vaccine king’ says coronavirus jabs will be ready in months
Flamboyant billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla is joining with Codagenix of the US to tackle the outbreak
He may not be a household name elsewhere but from his baronial-style boardroom overlooking his family’s stud farm in western India, Cyrus Poonawalla oversees a global vaccine empire that touches billions of lives.
With an estimated fortune of $9.8bn, Poonawalla, 78, is the founder and chairperson of the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest manufacturer of vaccines by number of doses produced, equivalent to about 1.5 billion shots per year. Now, as the world scrambles to mount an effective response in the battle against coronavirus, Poonawalla hopes his company will play a critical role scaling up production once a vaccine has been developed and declared fit for human use.
It could turn out to be a lucrative opportunity. Last month, Serum Institute signed a joint venture with Codagenix, a US drug company backed by another billionaire, hedge fund tycoon Jim Simons, which is working on a vaccine using algorithms to analyse the genome of the coronavirus...