AstraZeneca CEO ‘deeply humbled’ by award recognising pandemic efforts

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Astrazeneca COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Pharmaceutical industry

AstraZeneca CEO Sir Pascal Soriot has been awarded one of the highest honours by science institution SCI for his role in ‘accelerating scientific innovation’ and for leading the company’s global COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The pharma giant​ developed and manufactured one of the first COVID-19 vaccines worldwide alongside Oxford University.

Between December 2020 and December 2021, three billion doses were made available, two-thirds of which were for low and middle-income countries worldwide at no profit to the company during the pandemic.

SCI has made the ‘rare’ award of its president’s medal to Sir Pascal for his ‘brave and responsible business decision’.

“I am deeply humbled by this award which reflects the contribution from so many people across AstraZeneca who transformed the business and played such a pivotal role in responding to the pandemic,” Sir Pascal Soriot said.

“This year is the 25th anniversary of Astra and Zeneca coming together, building on the heritage of pioneering science that both companies had developed since the turn of the last century. Looking ahead, we are committed to operating sustainably to do all we can to avert the climate crisis in the pursuit of breakthrough medicines that address some of the most challenging diseases facing patients.”

AstraZeneca’s vaccine reached 180 countries around the world, saving an estimated 6.3 million lives in the first year of the pandemic.

When announcing the award, SCI president Paul Drechsler said what Pascal did was ‘extraordinary’ with his decision to forgot profit saving many lives and allowing economies in some of the most deprived parts to recover more quickly.

“It was a hugely brave decision and one that was unprecedented in the industry. Such principled decision-making is a mark of a true leader. It needs to be recognised and celebrated. The science sector could be much more effective in tackling the challenges faced by the world if we were more willing to follow Pascal and AstraZeneca’s example of collaboration,” he added.

Drechsler will formally present the medal to Sir Pascal in a ceremony in April 2024. 

Related news

Show more