Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of the country’s largest biotech research firm, Biocon Ltd, has been named winner of the 2014 Othmer Gold Medal, a top award of the US-based Chemical Heritage Foundation. Shaw is also known as India’s biotech queen for her pioneering work in biotech research. She will be conferred the prestigious award in March at Philadelphia, where the Foundation is based, a Biocon spokesperson told IANS here Thursday. The Chemical Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organisation, preserves history and heritage of chemistry and chemical engineering. Its collections are used to set up a body of original scholarship to highlight chemistry’s role in shaping society.
“Shaw, the first woman brew master in India, used knowledge of fermentation to become one of the greatest entrepreneurs in her country,” Foundation chief executive Carsten Reinhardt said in a statement here. In addition to her success in business, Shaw is among the world’s leading philanthropists, who spent much of her fortune to provide healthcare to the poorest in her country.
“I feel privileged to receive this prestigious honour and join the distinguished list of its recipients like James Watson, Ahmed Zawail and Robert Langer, from whom I have drawn great inspiration,” Shaw said in a statement. Shaw is the third woman and 20th recipient of the coveted medal, instituted in 1997 to honour those who contribute to chemical and scientific heritage through outstanding activity in innovation, entrepreneurship and research. The medal commemorates Donald Othmer (1904-1995), noted researcher, consultant, editor, engineer, inventor, philanthropist, professor, and co-editor of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopaedia of Chemical Technology.