Cyrus Poonawalla is the richest healthcare billionaire in the world

Ram Narayan Murthy | Updated on: Apr 14, 2022
Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of Serum Institute of India

Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of Serum Institute of India

The Serum Institute of India founder grows his wealth 41 per cent in a year

Cyrus Poonawalla, the founder of Serum Institute of India, is the richest billionaire in the healthcare sector in 2022, according to Hurun Global Healthcare Rich List 2022. With a net worth of $26 billion, he trumped other pharma company owners from around the world. Poonawalla, the fourth richest Indian, grew his wealth by 41 per cent over the past year to $26 billion, riding on the wide usage of the Covid-19 vaccines produced by the Serum Institute.

In 2020, Poonawalla had a net worth of $8.2 billion, which has risen by $17.8 billion over the last two years.

Born into a family known on the horse racing circuit thanks to its stud farms, very early on, Poonawalla realised that this pursuit had “no future in socialist India of the time”. He founded Serum Institute in 1966 and the company has grown to become the world’s largest vaccine maker, producing over 1.5 billion doses of vaccines that counter measles, polio and flu among others.

Race horses continue to be a passion for Poonawalla, who is also known for his penchant for cars. Even before Serum was born, he built a $120-prototype sports car modeled on the D-type Jaguar. Today, he has a collection of sports cars and custom-built limousines.

During his graduation from the Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC) in 1966, he developed a close friendship with his classmate Sharad Pawar. He and his wife Villoo are known in Pune circles for their philanthropic activities as well.

The second richest healthcare billionaire globally is Thomas Frist Jr and family. The family owns HCA healthcare which operates 187 hospitals and around 2,000 sites of care in 20 States in the US and the UK, according to Forbes. The third and fourth on the list are from China — Li Xiting and Xu Hang of Mindray. At number five is again an Indian, Dilip Shanghvi and family of Sun Pharmaceuticals. India has a total of nine healthcare billionaires in 2022, which is the fifth highest globally.

Dilip Shanghvi and family, have a net worth of $18 billion and have added $5.5 billion over the past year, an increase of 44 per cent. The third richest billionaires from India are Murali Divi & family of the Divi’s Laboratories with a net worth of $9.5 billion. Other healthcare billionaires from India who find a mention on the list are Pankaj Patel and family of Cadilla Healthcare, Kiran Mazumdar and John Shaw of Biocon, Samir Mehta & family of Torren Pharma, Sudhir Mehta & family of Torrent Pharma, B Parthasaradhi Reddy of Hetero Drugs, and Manju D Gupta & Family of Lupin.

The top 10 richest women healthcare billionaires are from China (4), Switzerland (4), Italy (1) and the US (1). The richest woman healthcare billionaire with a net worth of $15 billion is from Italy, Massimiliana Landini Aleotti of Menarini.

(With inputs from Radheshyam Jadhav)

Published on April 13, 2022
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