This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of India’s Richest 2021. See the full list here.
Cadila Healthcare chairman Pankaj Patel earned bragging rights as an industry pioneer after the company’s world-first DNA vaccine for Covid-19 was approved for emergency use in India in August. The vaccine, called Zy-CoV-D, was also the first to get the nod to vaccinate India’s teenagers, and the Ahmedabad-based company expects to supply 10 million doses by October. Skyrocketing demand for Cadila’s drug portfolio has boosted the pharma magnate’s fortune to $6.2 billion.
Cadila’s first-quarter net profit climbed 29% to 5.9 billion rupees ($80 million) from a year ago, on top of an 81% rise in 2020 full-year earnings to 21.3 billion rupees. Shares of the company—run by son Sharvil—have jumped 95% since the start of the pandemic.
Following the devastating surge of Covid-19 infections in India earlier this year, Cadila doubled its production of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug Remdesivir, and in June began clinical trials of a monoclonal antibodies cocktail to fight Covid-19. It also tied up with Taiwan Liposome to sell its treatment for mucormycosis following an outbreak of the life-threatening fungal infection in India.
Besides pharmaceuticals, Patel’s Zydus Cadila group makes wellness products such as popular sugar substitute Sugar Free. It was cofounded by Patel’s late father Ramanbhai Patel in 1952 to make vitamins.