Here's a list of companies making drugs and vaccines against coronavirus

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 01, 2020

The novel coronavirus appears to hold out a silver lining of sorts for healthcare companies, reveals a pharma list that ranked entrepreneurs working on medicines, vaccines, or therapies aimed at tackling the novel coronavirus.

The segment-specific exercise, ‘IIFL Wealth HURUN India top Covid-19 pharma entrepreneurs list’, is a first and was undertaken to showcase the work of Indian entrepreneurs developing, researching or distributing drugs, vaccines or any other remedies pertaining to Covid-19, explained Anas Rahman Junaid, Managing Director and Chief Researcher, Hurun India.

Countering the criticism often made of the pharma industry, as a sector that profits off an illness, Junaid said to BusinessLine: “These companies will be playing an important role in 2021 in getting people healthy. The list is to highlight their entrepreneurial effort.” Covid was an additional feature, he clarified, for a sector that was already doing well, as more people invested in personalised healthcare.

The ‘Covid-19 pharma entrepreneurs list’ was based on their ‘Hurun India Rich List 2020’, and the wealth threshold to enter the list was ₹1,000 crore. The wealth calculations are a snapshot of August 31, 2020, a note on the list said.

Top players

Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla (79), Founder of Serum Institute of India (SII) is the richest pharma entrepreneur, with wealth pegged at ₹94,300 crore. In June 2020, Poonawalla debuted in the top 100 in Hurun Global Rich List, a note on the rankings said.

SII has a production and distribution alliance with Oxford University and other institutions to manufacture and distribute Covid-19 vaccines. In August this year, SII announced its partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver up to 100 million doses of the vaccine to India and other low and middle-income countries, the release noted.

Further, Junaid points out, SII has embarked on “at risk” production of vaccines, even as clinical trials were underway. There is a chance that the vaccine may not go through, he said, adding that “it was important to highlight this risk-taking attitude.”

With wealth at ₹84,000 crore, Sun Pharma founder Dilip Shanghvi (64), ranked second on the pharma list. “Backed by a 22 percent increase in the share price of Sun Pharma, Dilip Shanghvi’s wealth increased by 17 per cent or ₹12,000 crore. Sun Pharma’s share price decreased by 25 per cent during the beginning of March lockdown and registered a strong V-shaped recovery, and gained back a whopping 60 per cent over the last six months. Sun Pharma is currently working on developing two drugs and has already launched Favipiravir tablets under the brand name of FluGuard,” the note said.

With wealth at ₹33,700 crore, Pankaj Patel (67) and family of Cadila Healthcare ranked fourth in the list. “His company has initiated the phase 2 clinical trial of their indigenously developed vaccine, ZyCoV-D,” the note said, pointing out to Zydus Cadila’s role as one the largest players in making Hydroxychloroquine, besides its agreement with Gilead Sciences to manufacture and supply Remdesivir.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (67), Chairperson of Biocon, was the only self-made woman in the list (see box). Other pharma entrepreneurs included, Lupin’s Manju D Gupta (77) and family; Cipla’s Dr Yusuf Hamied (84) and family; (Cipla makes Remdesivir, Favipiravir and has an alliance with Roche for Tocilizumab); and K Satish Reddy (53) and family of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. DRL has an alliance to bring the Russian vaccine Sputnik into the country, among other Covid-efforts.

Yatin Shah, Executive Director, IIFL Wealth & Asset Management pointed out that Indian pharma entrepreneurs had created successful enterprises in an industry with huge entry barriers and strict norms.

“Indian healthcare entrepreneurs have found niches, taken bets and built scale to create leading companies while addressing the issues of providing quality healthcare at affordable prices. In the midst of the pandemic, the entrepreneurial ability of pharma leaders to address the challenges faced due to Covid-19 have come to the fore..”


Published on October 01, 2020

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