COVID VACCINES FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD

Moving Ideas into Action to Address a Global Pandemic

 

 Adar C. PoonawallaAdar C. Poonawalla is the CEO of Serum Institute India Private Limited, India’s #1 biotechnology company located in Pune, India. Serum Institute was founded in 1966 by his father Cyrus S. Poonawalla. After graduating from the University of Westminster in London, Mr. Poonawalla returned to India in 2001 and joined the family business. At that stage, Serum Institute products were distributed in about 20-30 countries. With a drive to expand the geographical reach of the company and bring affordable vaccines to the developing world, he grew the business to 170 countries and succeeded his father in 2011 as CEO. Since then, he has launched a large number of new vaccines, focused on bringing down prices of vaccines whilst at the same time leading Serum Institute to innovate and develop new vaccines and therapeutics.

One of Mr. Poonawalla’s greatest contributions to humanity was the speed with which he, and Serum Institute under his leadership, reacted to the COVID pandemic, committed the financial resources required to proceed at risk and rapidly develop COVISHIELD, which secured emergency use authorization in India in January 2021. In addition to Serum Institute’s commitment to a low-cost vaccine for India’s 1.3 billion citizens, UNICEF has announced a long-term supply agreement with Serum Institute for two vaccine products through technology transfer from AstraZeneca and Novavax.

Serum Institute is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally (more than 1.5 billion doses). It is estimated that about 65% of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute. Vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute are accredited by the World Health Organization, and are being used in around 170 countries across the globe in their national immunization programs, saving millions of lives throughout the world. Serum Institute is the major supplier to the Gates Foundation vaccine initiatives. Serum Institute made its first International acquisition by acquiring Bilthoven Biologicals, a bioengineering and pharmaceutical company from The Netherlands Government in 2012. Bilthoven Biologicals has an installed manufacturing capacity of over 20 million doses of vaccines annually and provides an important manufacturing base in Europe, with access to strategic European Markets.

Mr. Poonawalla is a philanthropist and an ardent advocate of preservation of the environment. In 2012, he founded The Villoo Poonawalla Charitable Foundation along with his wife Natasha in memory of his late mother, Villoo, to address education, healthcare and sanitation. Today, 500 Kms of roads, half the city of Pune, is covered using 250 trucks and 450 full time employees picking up and processing the city waste. The Foundation also now provides clean drinking water at 30 locations, has 8 schools with over 10,000 children being educated and a charitable hospital.

He has received many accolades for his efforts including “CNN Indian of the Year” in 2017, one of the “50 most influential young Indians” by the GQ Magazine and “Philanthropist of the year” in 2016. He was appointed The Swachh Bharat Ambassador by Prime Minister Modi. Mr. Poonawalla is a board member of the GAVI Alliance, the global vaccine alliance.

 

Michael KremerMichael Kremer is a pioneer in the field of development economics and a winner of the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, for his work bringing methodological innovations and insights to fight global poverty. As explained by the Nobel Committee in announcing his award, “One of humanity’s most urgent issues is the reduction of global poverty, in all its forms.” The Nobel Committee recognized Professor Kremer and his colleagues, with whom he shared the prize, for pathbreaking insights with real world impact in developing countries.

An innovator and social entrepreneur, Professor Kremer actively translates his academic work into programs that impact millions of lives around the world. His work on Advance Market Commitments for vaccines was instrumental in the development of a new pneumococcal vaccine, tackling a leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality. The vaccine has now been rolled out in 60 developing countries. Drawing on his work on school-based deworming, Professor Kremer co-founded Deworm the World. As part of Evidence Action, the program now brings deworming to over 150 million children annually. Professor Kremer’s work on safe drinking water led to the Dispensers for Safe Water Program, which reaches 4 million people via the NGO Evidence Action. He is a co-founder and board member of Precision Agriculture for Development, which leverages digital technology to improve productivity and incomes for small-holder farmers in developing countries. Professor Kremer founded WorldTeach, which placed more than 7,500 volunteers as teachers in developing countries from 1987 to 2019.

Professor Kremer and an elite group of other economists and statisticians have recently formed Accelerating Health Technologies with Incentive Design, or AcceleratingHT. Accelerating HT is focused on designing economic mechanisms to accelerate vaccine development and delivery to address the challenges created by the COVID-19 virus. The work recognizes that vaccines typically take years, even decades to research, develop and distribute, and most vaccine candidates fail. Vaccine manufacturers typically do not even start to scale up manufacturing capacity until after clinical trials succeed, and even then the process of scaling up requires careful testing and extensive regulatory oversight. AccerlatingHT has been advising governments and non-governmental organizations, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-America Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Center for Global Development, on how to structure COVID-19 vaccine investments.

Professor Kremer is University Professor at the University of Chicago and the founding director of the Development Innovation Lab at the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago. He is also a co-founder and Scientific Director of USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), an open, tiered, evidenced-based fund that supports innovation for development. Professor Kremer is author of more than 120 academic articles and book chapters. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a 1997 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Chicago, he was a Professor at Harvard University, and before that at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Kremer earned his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1992.

 

Tasneem ChiptyTasneem Chipty is an internationally recognized expert in competition economics and econometrics. She is known for her independent analysis, diverse subject matter expertise, and ability to connect with clients. Dr. Chipty was the Department of Justice’s antitrust expert in the federal lawsuit challenging Atrium Health’s use of anti-steering restrictions in contracts with health plans. She was an expert for the Government of Australia, at the World Trade Organization, in a series of disputes surrounding Australia’s national tobacco control policy. She was one of Qualcomm’s antitrust experts in a series of lawsuits challenging Qualcomm’s licensing practices. For years, she was an antitrust advisor to the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, in which capacity she evaluated the likely competitive impact of a series of high-profile transactions, including Partners attempted acquisitions of South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health. Currently, she is the expert for the Canadian Competition Commission, in a regulatory proceeding studying the state of competition among wireless service providers in Canada.

Dr. Chipty has submitted testimony, been deposed, and testified at trial on numerous occasions over the years. She has appeared before the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, the World Trade Organization, the Canadian Mergers Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the U.S. Copyright Board, and the Canadian Copyright Board.

As part of her pro-bono practice, Dr. Chipty works with Professor Kremer and his colleagues at the Accelerating Health Technologies with Incentive Design, an initiative focused on designing economic mechanisms to accelerate vaccine development and delivery to address the challenges created by the COVID-19 virus. Dr. Chipty also worked with Professor Kremer to study the design of advance market commitments for a pneumococcal vaccine.

Dr. Chipty is on the national board of the America India Foundation. She is also the global co-head of the economics practice at AlixPartners. Prior to joining AlixPartners, she was the founder and Managing Principal of Matrix Economics. She has served on the faculties of the Ohio State University, Brandeis University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she taught courses in antitrust and regulation, industrial organization, and econometrics. Dr. Chipty received her Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her undergraduate degree in economics and mathematics from Wellesley College.

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