Tan Hooi Ling
Chief Operating Officer and Founder, Grab
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s entrepreneurial story reads like a page from the startup playbook.
Mazumdar-Shaw founded Biocon, now one of India’s largest biopharmaceutical companies, in the garage of her rented house in the city of Bengaluru in 1978. In the early days, it was a challenge for her to attract investors because of her age and gender, but a chance meeting with a banker at a social function helped her obtain her first financial support.
Over 40 years later, Biocon now manufactures generic drugs that are sold in over 120 countries across the world. It also produces a range of branded formulations for the Indian market.
“As a committed stakeholder of the global health agenda under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Biocon is leveraging its affordable innovation model to reduce disparities in access to safe, high-quality medicines, as well as, address the gaps in scientific research to find innovative solutions to impact a billion lives,” she tells Business Insider.
Mazumdar-Shaw’s current focus is firmly on COVID-19. Biocon is testing its Itolizumab drug as a treatment for moderate to severe patients. Biocon’s research arm Syngene International is also running an approved COVID-19 testing laboratory to speed up affordable testing in Bengaluru, where Biocon is still headquartered.
Mazumdar-Shaw is considering listing Biocon in the next few years. Investors will be keen. In July this year, Tata Capital injected US$30 million into the company, which valued Biocon at $3.5 billion. This came hot on the heels of an earlier $75 million investment by the True North Fund.