• Monday, May 23, 2022

INDIA

India’s Serum Institute pledges £50m to Oxford University

Cyrus Poonawalla (left), chairman and managing director of Serum Institute of India (SII) meets Indian president Ram Nath Kovind along with son and SII chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the Indian president, in New Delhi, India. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

SERUM Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has pledged £50 million to the University of Oxford for establishing a research campus that would also house the institute behind the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 jab, Reuters reported.

The university on Wednesday (15) said the investment was made through Serum Life Sciences Limited, a unit of SII. The research facility would be named after SII’s billionaire owners – the Poonawalla family, Reuters added.

The pledge builds on the collaboration between Oxford University, AstraZeneca and SII, which produces the version of the British duo’s vaccine shot for countries that are economically modest.

SII, which is based in the Indian city of Pune, has also agreed with Jenner Institute, which was behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, to produce and develop Jenner’s R21/Matrix-M malaria shot on a big scale. The jab is currently in the advanced stage of trials.

SII was founded in 1966 by Cyrus Poonawalla, the son of a horse breeder and one of the top 10 richest persons in India, according to Forbes. In 2019, he was conferred an honorary degree by Oxford University.

Poonawalla’s son Adar is currently the chief executive officer of SII and the latter’s wife Natasha Poonawalla heads Serum Life Sciences.

In September, the billionaire family invested £50 million in Oxford Biomedica to help develop a plant which manufactures Covid vaccines.

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