Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon Limited
When Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw discovered that, despite her expertise, no one would hire a woman as a master brewer in India, she decided to embark on her own venture. She set out to prove that “women should not be underestimated or denied opportunity just because of gender stereotypes.”
Since then, Kiran has been a trailblazer for businesswomen in India and around the world. Biocon, the company she founded in 1978 with just US$500, is now one of Asia’s leading biotech companies. It has become one of the largest employers in the region, with an 11,000-plus workforce, and a pioneer of Bangalore’s technology hub. As a recognized global thought leader, Kiran has appeared on the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women list and Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list.
Throughout Biocon’s incredible growth, Kiran has been driven by her ambition to create a business that would “leverage science for the benefit of society.” The company has evolved from manufacturing pharmaceuticals such as statins and immunosuppressants to discovering, developing and producing biologics to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes. Her goal is “to develop affordable blockbuster drugs with the potential to benefit a billion patients.”