Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a pioneer of the biotechnology industry in India and the founder of the country’s leading biotechnology enterprise, Biocon. Named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, Kiran is recognised as a thought leader who has made her country proud by building a globally recognised biopharmaceutical enterprise. Biocon is committed to innovation and delivering best-in-class, affordable therapeutics to patients across the globe.
As a global influencer, she is ranked among ‘the World’s 25 Most Influential People in Biopharma’ by Fierce Biotech, Forbes magazine’s ‘World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ and Fortune’s ‘Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Asia-Pacific.’ She has been recognised as the only Indian on Forbes’ list of ‘World’s Self-Made Women Billionaires.’ She has been featured in ‘The Worldview 100 List’ of the most influential visionaries by Scientific American magazine and named among the ‘100 Leading Global Thinkers’ by Foreign Policy magazine. Kiran has been ranked as one of the world’s top 20 inspirational leaders in the field of biopharmaceuticals by The Medicine Maker Power List 2021, an index of the 100 most influential people across the globe in the field of medicine, where she has been featured consecutively since 2015.
Kiran has received with the EY Entrepreneur of the Year India 2019 Award and named EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2020. She was honoured with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Healthcare’ by the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi. She has also been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the FICCI-Healthcare Excellence Awards 2019, in recognition of her valuable contribution and exemplary work in the field of healthcare. She has been conferred the US-India Business Council Global Leadership Award at the USIBC India Ideas Summit 2018, in recognition of her contributions and leadership across roles and sectors. She was felicitated with the ‘Advancing Women in Science and Medicine Award for Excellence’ 2017 by The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, U.S. Kiran has been named ‘India’s Most Respected Entrepreneur’ for 2017 by the prestigious Hurun Report and felicitated as an exceptional woman achiever by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt. of India, for being the first Indian businesswoman to reach USD 1 billion net worth.
In January 2020, Kiran was honored with the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest civilian honor, for her significant service to advancing Australia’s bilateral relationship with India, particularly in promoting commercial and educational links. In 2016, she was conferred with the highest French distinction – Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour). In addition, she was also bestowed with ‘The Global Leadership in Engineering Award’ by Los Angeles-based USC Viterbi, School of Engineering in 2016 for excellence in biotechnology worldwide. The U.S.-based Chemical Heritage Foundation has conferred her with the ‘2014 Othmer Gold Medal’ and the Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy has awarded her its coveted ‘2014 Global Economy Prize’ for Business. She has received two of India’s highest civilian honors, the Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005).
Kiran holds key positions in various industry, educational, government and professional bodies. She has been appointed as a member of the high-level expert committee constituted by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), to review the autonomous organisations under the administrative control of the department. She is also a Governing Council Member of the National Institute of Immunology, an autonomous research institute of the DBT. She has been appointed as Member of the Steering Committee of the National Biopharma Mission, an industry-academia collaborative mission of the DBT. She is Non-Executive Chairperson of the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE), a not-for-profit pan-India forum representing the Indian biotechnology sector. She is a founder member of Karnataka’s Vision Group on Biotechnology, which she currently chairs. She has also been appointed Chairperson of the Karnataka government’s Vision Group to encourage pharma and medical devices units in the state. She is also a Member of Board of Directors, Science Gallery Bengaluru, part of the Global Science Gallery Network pioneered by Trinity College Dublin.
She has been appointed the Vice-Chair of the Global Board of Directors of U.S.-India Business Council, and served as member of the Advisory Council of the UK-India Business Council. She has been appointed Global Alumni Ambassador for Australia by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia and she has been appointed the Victorian Business Ambassador by The State Govt of Victoria, Australia. She served as the Board of Trustees of the US Pharmacopeia Convention, currently, a Honorary member. She also served as a member of the Governing Body of the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission. She is the Honorary Consul of Ireland in Bangalore.
Kiran has been elected as a full-term member of the Board of Trustees of The MIT Corporation, U.S., and is additionally on the advisory board of the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health at MIT (J- Clinic), U.S., which seeks to transform healthcare with artificial intelligence and machine learning. She also serves on the Board of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, and PureTech Health, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, U.S. She serves on the board of advisors for The National Society of High School Scholars, U.S., and is on the board of trustees of the Keck Graduate Institute in the U.S. She has been elected as a member of the prestigious U.S. based National Academy of Engineering, for her contribution to the development of affordable bio-pharmaceuticals and the biotechnology industry in India, and she is the first female Foreign Fellow to be elected as a member of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. She has been elected as the Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy for the advancement of learning and useful knowledge.
She is a founder member of the Society for the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore, and is the former chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and former member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. She is Non-Executive Director on the Board of Narayana Health and also served as the Lead Independent Member of the Board of Infosys Ltd from 2018 to 2023.
Moreover, Kiran is involved in several charitable organisations. She serves on the Global Advisory Committee for the Women and the Green Economy Campaign (WAGE)™ initiative and is a member of the MIT Charter Society, U.S., in honour of her philanthropic commitment to the institute. She is also associated with The Live Love Laugh Foundation, a leading not- for-profit organisation spreading mental health awareness, as a member of its Board of Trustees. She has also been appointed a Non- Executive Director of The Centre for Social and Economic Progress
Kiran’s commitment to affordable healthcare extends beyond business. Her philanthropic initiatives are directed at making a difference to the lives of the marginalised communities. Through Biocon Foundation’s primary healthcare centers, telemedicine initiatives, health awareness programs, public health and sanitation initiatives and preventive screenings for oral and cervical cancer, she is making an enduring impact on society.
She has also established the 1,400-bed Mazumdar-Shaw Medical Center in Bangalore to deliver affordable world-class cancer care services to patients irrespective of socio-economic status. She has set up the Mazumdar Shaw Center for Translational Research, a non-profit research institute dedicated to developing scientific breakthroughs for treating a wide range of human diseases. Her philanthropic efforts have led her to be featured in the Forbes’ List of ‘Heroes of Philanthropy’. Kiran is also the second Indian to join the Giving Pledge global initiative created by Warren Buffett and Bill & Melinda Gates that encourages billionaires to give a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
Kiran holds a bachelor’s degree in science (Zoology Hons.) from Bangalore University and has earned a master’s degree in malting and brewing from Ballarat College, Melbourne University. She has been awarded with several honorary degrees from Ballarat (2004), University of Abertay (2007), University of Glasgow (2008), Heriot-Watt University (2008), National University of Ireland (2012) and Trinity College, Dublin (2012) for her pre-eminent contributions in the field of biotechnology.
Kiran’s husband, Mr. John Shaw, served as the Vice-Chairman of Biocon for 22 years. A Scotsman and an Indophile, he had contributed majorly to the transformation of Biocon from a small enzymes company to a globally recognized biopharmaceutical company. He played an important role in ensuring the highest levels of corporate governance in the company, as well as in the financial and strategic development of the group. Before joining Biocon in 1999, he headed a leading textiles company, Madura Coats, as chairman.