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Vaccine CEO 'agrees to rent plush Mayfair mansion from billionaire'

Flashy boss of Indian vaccine firm making AstraZeneca jabs for Britain ‘agrees to rent plush £50,000-a-week Mayfair mansion from Polish billionaire’

  • Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute, has reportedly agreed to pay Polish billionaire Dominika Kulczyk £50,000 a week for a Mayfair mansion in London
  • The rate is believed to be the highest rent agreed in the exclusive area’s history 
  • Adar Poonawalla’s company is due to supply the UK with AstraZeneca vaccine 

The CEO of an Indian drug company due to supply the UK with AstraZeneca vaccines is said to have agreed to pay £50,000 a week for a Mayfair home.

Adar Poonawalla, the flashy billionaire head of the Serum Institute in India, will reportedly lease the 25,000 sq ft mansion from Polish billionaire Dominika Kulczyk.

According to Bloomberg, two people with knowledge of the deal have said the record-setting rate has been agreed for one of the largest homes in the exclusive neighbourhood.


Vaccine boss Adar Poonawalla (pictured, left, with wife Natasha) has reportedly agreed to pay Polish billionaire Dominika Kulczyk (right) £50,000 a week for a mansion in Mayfair, London

Pictured: Adar Poonawalla is the flashy billionaire CEO of the Serum Institute of India – the largest vaccine company in the world which is due to supply the UK with AstraZeneca vaccines

Adar Poonawalla began working at his father’s vaccine company in 2001.

He had just graduated from the University of Westminster, in the UK, before returning to India to join the family business.

He started at the bottom, in the sales team before working his way up and was eventually made CEO in 2011.

He is married to Natasha, a London School of Economics graduate who now runs the company’s charitable foundation, and the couple have two children together. 

Poonawalla, who is referred to as ‘the Vaccine Prince’, has been active on social media throughout the pandemic and told the Times last year that he risked his fortune to help save lives by expanding the firm’s factory to make sure it was ready to go when a vaccine was approved.

Proud of his wealth, Adar Poonawalla and his family own several large homes, as well as 35 supercars and a private jet. 

He also told the Times: ‘We like to enjoy our life, because we’re not afraid of retribution or anyone who could question us, in the sense that we’ve made our wealth legally and properly and ethically.’

Mr Poonawalla received a number of awards for his business and charity work, and has previously been named one of India’s 50 most influential young people by GQ Magazine. 

The property, which is said to be the equivalent of 24 average English homes, also comes with an adjoining guest house.

Dominika Kulczyk is the daughter of billionaire investor Jan Kulczyk who was Poland’s richest man prior to his death in 2015.

Dominika and her brother Sebastian, who is the owner and chief executive of Kulczyk Investments, inherited much of their father’s £2.5billion fortune.

Ms Kulczyk last year paid £57million for two Georgian townhouses in Knightsbridge, which was described as proof of the revival of the capital’s property market.

Ms Kulczyk purchased the lavish property from residential developer Mike Spink, who is best known for selling a historic mansion near Buckingham Palace last year for a whopping £95 million. 

The 43-year-old has been living in London for a number of years.

It is thought Ms Kulczyk may have paid for the property with the profits from an off-shore wind company called Polenergia, that she is the majority shareholder of.

She managed to get a great deal on the two stucco-fronted Georgian townhouses, the original asking price had been £65 million. 

With a fortune of £11billion, the Poonawalla family is one of the richest in the world and much of that comes from the vaccine manufacturing company.

Founded by Adar’s father Cyrus in 1966, the Serum Institute is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and has partnered with various developers including Novavax and Codagenix as well as AstraZeneca. 

The firm hit headlines this month after it was linked to a delay in the delivery of 5 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses.

The delay became the first stumbling block in the UK’s vaccine efforts as health secretary Matt Hancock has been forced to admit it will slow the roll-out next month, meaning millions of over-40s may have to wait until May to get vaccinated.

Ms Kulczyk last year paid £57million for two stucco-fronted Georgian townhouses (pictured) in Knightsbridge, which was said to be proof of the revival of the capital’s property market

Britain is getting a delayed shipment from the Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine-maker, which is producing some of Britain’s supply of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab

Heiress to a £2.5billion fortune: Daughter of Poland’s richest man and successful businesswoman who bought £57m Knightsbridge townhouse 

Dominika Kulczyk is the daughter of billionaire investor Jan Kulczyk who was Poland’s richest man prior to his death in 2015.

Dominika and her brother Sebastian, who is the owner and chief executive of Kulczyk Investments, inherited much of their father’s £2.5billion fortune.

Ms Kulczyk, 43, is now a successful businesswoman in her own right and runs the Kulczyk Foundation – a company that supports aid projects in impoverished countries. 

The 43-year-old lives in Warsaw and was married to Jan Lubomirski-Lanckoroński from 2001 to 2013 with whom she has two children.

Last year, Ms Kulczyk splashed £57million on a Knightsbridge mansion near Harrods.

It is thought Ms Kulczyk may have paid for the property with the profits from an off-shore wind company called Polenergia, that she is the majority shareholder of.

She managed to get a great deal on the two stucco-fronted Georgian townhouses, the original asking price had been £65 million. 

Adar Poonawalla tweeted on February 21 that countries needed to be ‘patient’ as his firm – the Serum Institute of India – had been instructed to keep jabs in the country.

‘[We] have been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world. We are trying our best,’ he messaged.

The Serum Institute has denied being responsible, saying the export was blocked by India’s government in what some branded a case of ‘vaccine nationalism’ akin to the EU’s threat to block Pfizer jabs bound for the UK. 

But yesterday, it was reported that the Serum Institute has since asked the country’s government for permission to ‘immediately’ ship millions of doses to the UK.

Indian media reports that the company has written to ministers for consent to export a batch of 5million jabs.

The firm’s origins go back to the Poonawalla family’s background in racehorse breeding – which led them into pharmaceuticals after one of their horses was bitten by a snake.

The horse’s death after bureaucratic delays meant no serum was available prompted Poonawalla senior to found the firm so that treatments could be made at the farm.

Part of the Poonawalla-owned campus in Pune is still a stud farm today, but it also employs hundreds of workers on its huge-scale global vaccine production.

Some of the family fortune has gone on supercars including the CEO’s so-called ‘batmobile’, believed to be a £40,000 adaptation of a Mercedes S350.

The family also owns Ferraris and Rolls-Royces including a vintage Silver Shadow and a Phantom Drophead Coupe, according to Indian media.

But last year the CEO and his father decided to invest millions in Covid-19 vaccines, months before it was known whether any of them would even be effective.

‘It was just a quick five-minute chat between myself and my father,’ Adar Poonawalla told NPR.

Cyrus Poonawalla with Natasha and Adar Poonawalla a at Mahalaxmi race course in 2011

Adar Poonawalla owns a fleet of expensive cars including Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Ferraris

The 40-year-old has long-standing ties with the UK, having been sent to board at St Edmund’s School in Canterbury at the age of 9.

He then went on to study at the University of Westminster and has said in previous interviews that Britain is ‘definitely a place [he] would want a second home’.

In 2015, Adar lost out on a bid for London’s historic Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair. 

The company’s success means that his father Cyrus Poonawalla was ranked sixth on India’s Rich List last year, according to the Times of India. 

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