Suresh Jadhav, key executive of SII & doyen of vaccine industry, passed away


Suresh Jadhav, Executive Director of Serum Institute of India (SII) and a doyen of the Indian vaccine industry has passed away in Pune late Tuesday, after prolonged illness.

Jadhav, 72 is survived by his wife and two children.

Jadhav has been with SII for over four decades, playing a crucial role in building SII as the world’s largest vaccine producer. As part of the top leadership at SII, Jadhav has been a guiding force, as the drug maker rushed ahead to produce COVID-19 vaccine Covishield. About 89% out of the total 1.3 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India, were Covishield.

“The @SerumInstIndia family and the Indian vaccine industry has lost a guiding light, with the passing of Dr. Suresh Jadhav,” tweeted Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII.

“My prayers are with his family during these trying times and I thank you all, for your condolences,” Poonawalla said.

Jadhav joined Pune-based SII in 1979, and his technical expertise in quality control, manufacturing, laboratory and clinical practices have been instrumental for SII to secure WHO accreditation for various vaccines developed by SII, enabling the vaccine maker to export vaccines in more than 140 countries, UN agencies and the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), and Indian government.

Jadhav was appointed from time to time as an advisor and member on various committees, professional bodies of both domestic and international repute like WHO relating to vaccine policy, testing, developing new reference standards, validation studies, among others.

Jadhav was the President of Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers’ Network (DCVMN) from 2004 to 2008. He was on the GAVI Board for several years.

Prior to SII, Jadhav had worked in academia for a decade starting with a research fellowship of CSIR in 1970. He held academic positions at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nagpur; S.N.D.T. University and Haffkine Institute, Mumbai.

“Shocked to learn of the untimely demise of Dr Suresh Jadhav Executive Director of @SerumInstIndia .. the Biotech world has lost an irreplaceable stalwart,” said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson of Biocon.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at World Health Organization, extended her condolences on Jadhav’s death.

“Very sad news. Exceptional lifetime contributions to vaccine development with huge impact on lives saved. May his soul Rest In Peace,” she posted on Twitter.

Dr. Sanjay Singh, CEO of Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, that’s developing indigenous mNRA vaccine called Jadhav as true gentlemen with global recognition.

“He played a pivotal role in bringing acceptance of Indian vaccines in the global stage like WHO and Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and building that relationship,” Singh said.

Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biotech who knew Jadhav for over two decades, called him as a man of simplicity, highly principled, and passionate about the vaccine field.

“He never looked at me as a competitor and believed in working cooperatively, he had a high ethos. He was also instrumental in establishing DCVM from scratch,” Ella said.

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