Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian entrepreneur. She was born on 23rd March 1953. She is the chairman and managing director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore and the current chairperson of IIM-Bangalore. This year she was awarded the Othmer Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to the progress of science and chemistry. She is on the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list.As of 2014, she is listed as the 92nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Kiran Mazumdar was born to Gujarati parents settled in Bangalore. She did her schooling at Bangalore’s Bishop Cotton Girl’s High School, graduating in 1968. Then she attended Mount CarmelCollege, Bangalore She studied biology and zoology, graduating from BangaloreUniversity with a B.Sc. in Zoology in 1973. Later, as per her fathers suggestion, Mazumdar went to Ballarat College of Advanced Education in Australia to study Malting and Brewing. Her father was the head brewmaster at United Breweries.He suggested that Kiran study fermentation science, and train to be a brewmaster. She earned the degree of Master Brewer in 1975 After that she worked as a trainee brewer in Carlton and United Breweries, Melbourne and as a trainee maltster at Barrett Brothers and Burston, Australia. She also worked for some time as a technical consultant at Jupiter Breweries Limited, Calcutta and as a technical manager at Standard Maltings Corporation, Baroda during 1975-77.
However, She found it difficult to be hired as a master brewer in India because It was considered a mans work. So she was looking for jobs abroad.Later she met Leslie Auchincloss, founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland.His company produced enzymes for using in brewing,food-packaging and textile industries. Auchincloss was looking for an Indian entrepreneur to help establish an Indian subsidiary.Mazumdar agreed to undertake the job, After a brief period as a Trainee Manager at Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland,Mazumdar returned to India. She started Biocon India in 1978 in the garage of her rented house in Bangalore with a seed capital of Rs. 10,000.Although it was a joint venture, Indian laws restricted foreign ownership to 30% of the company. The remaining 70% belonged to Kiran Mazumdar. Initially, she faced so many challenges because of her gender and her untested business model. Funding was also a problem as no bank was willing to lend her money. She also found it difficult to find able employees. Her first employee was a retired a garage mechanic. The company’s initial projects were mainly focused on the extraction of papain, an enzyme from papaya used to tenderize meat and isinglass, obtained from tropical catfish which was used to clarify beer. Within a year,Biocon India was able to manufacture enzymes and export them to the United States and Europe. Dreaming future expansions she bought a 20 acre property in bangalore.
Mazumdar-Shaw spearheaded Biocon’s evolution from an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical company with a well-balanced business portfolio of products and a research that focused on diabetes, oncology and auto-immune diseases. She also established two subsidiaries: Syngene 1994 which provides early research and development support services on a contract basis and Clinigene 2000 which focuses on clinical research trials and the development of both generic and new medicines. As early as 1984, she began to develop a research and development team at Biocon, focusing on discovery of novel enzymes and on development of novel techniques for solid substrate fermentation technology.The company’s first major expansion came in 1987, when Narayanan Vaghul of ICICI Ventures (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) supported creation of a venture capital fund of US$250,000.The money enabled Biocon to expand its research and development efforts. They built a new plant featuring proprietary solid substrate fermentation technology based on a semi-automated tray culture process, inspired by Japanese techniques.In 1989, Biocon became the first Indian biotech company to receive US funding for proprietary technologies.In the year 1990, Kiran Mazumdar incorporated Biocon Biopharmaceuticals Private Limited (BBLP) to manufacture and market a select range of biotherapeutics in a joint venture with the Cuban Center of Molecular Immunology.
Biocon Biochemicals of Ireland was acquired from Leslie Auchincloss by Unilever in 1989.The partnership with Unilever helped Biocon to establish global best practises.In 1997, Unilever sold its specialty chemicals division, including Biocon, to Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI).In 1998, Kiran Mazumdar’s fiancée, Scotsman John Shaw, personally raised $2 million to purchase the outstanding Biocon shares from ICI.The couple married in 1998, whereupon she became known as Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. John Shaw left his position as chairman at Madura Coats to join Biocon.He became Biocon’s vice chairman in the year 2001. In 2004, after seeking the advice of Narayana Murthy, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw decided to list Biocon on the stock market. Biocon was the first biotechnology company in India to issue an IPO.Biocon’s IPO was oversubscribed 33 times and its first day at the bourses closed with a market value of $1.11 billion,making Biocon only the second Indian company to cross the $1-billion mark on the first day of listing. Mazumdar-Shaw noticed the market potential for cholesterol fighting drugs early on. When the patent of the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin expired in 2001, Biocon got involved in its development. Then they expanded to other forms of statins. Part of her strategy was to enter into long-term supply contracts, establishing a dependable market base over time. Statins soon accounted for over 50 per cent of the company’s revenue.The company’s revenue went up from Rs. 70 crore ’98, to Rs. 500 crore in 2004 when it went public.Biocon is Asia’s largest insulin producer,and has the largest perfusion-based antibody production facilities.
As of 2011, Biocon directed about 8% of its revenue back into research and development, a much higher proportion than most Indian pharmacological companies.Biocon has filed at least 950 patent applications as a result of its research activity.Mazumdar-Shaw has actively engaged in acquisitions, partnerships and in-licensing within the pharmaceuticals and bio-pharmaceutical area, entering into more than 2,200 high-value R&D licensing and other deals between 2005-10 period. The Biocon Foundation is involved in numerous health and education outreach programs to benefit the economically weaker sections of Indian society.In 2004, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw started a corporate social responsibility wing at Biocon, the Biocon Foundation. The Foundation focuses on the areas of health, education and infrastructure, especially in rural areas of Karnataka which lack healthcare facilities. With Dr. Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital, Mazumdar-Shaw has supported the development of Arogya Raksha Yojana (Disease Protection Program/Health Help).Through this program Biocon Foundation establishes clinics to offer clinical care, generic medicines and basic tests for those who cannot afford them.
In 2009, she established a 1,400-bed cancer care center, the Mazumdar-ShawCancerCenter, at the NarayanaHealthCity campus in Bangalore, collaborating with Dr. Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya.She added a center for advanced therapeutics with a bone marrow transplant unit and a research center. Her goal is to create a world-class cancer center. Mazumdar-Shaw is a member of the board of governors of the prestigious IndianSchool of Business and a past member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. As of February 2014, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw became the first woman to head the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB).
Awards and honours :
- Padma Shri (1989)
- Padma Bhushan (2005)
- Economic Times Award for ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ in 2004.
- Othmer Gold Medal, 2014
- She was named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. She is on the 2011 Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list. She is listed as the 92nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
International awards :
- The Nikkei Asia Prize (2009) for Regional Growth,
- The ‘Veuve Clicquot Initiative For Economic Development For Asia’ Award
- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Life Sciences & Healthcare ‘Technology Pioneer’ recognition by World Economic Forum (2002).
- She was named “Global Indian Woman of the Year” at the Pharmaleaders Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit (2012)
- Express Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit Award for “Dynamic Entrepreneur” in 2009.
- The Indian Merchants’ Chamber Diamond Jubilee Endowment Trust’s Eminent Businessperson of the Year Award (2006)
- The Indian Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award (2005)
- The ‘Corporate Leadership Award’ by the American India Foundation (2005)
- The Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (2002).
Honorary degrees :
- Honorary Doctorate of Science in 2004, from her alma mater, BallaratUniversity, in recognition of her contributions to biotechnology.
- Honorary doctorates from the University of Abertay, Dundee, UK (2007)
- The University of Glasgow, UK (2008)
- Heriot-WattUniversity, Edinburgh, UK (2008)
- UniversityCollegeCork, Ireland (2012).
- Honorary Doctorate from DavangereUniversity in recognition of her contribution in the field of Biotechnology.