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15 June, 2022 - 20:00 By Tony Quested

What a knight for AstraZeneca. Arise Sir Pascal Soriot!

AstraZeneca’s chief executive officer Pascal Soriot has received a British knighthood for services to UK life sciences and leadership in the global response to the COVID pandemic in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022. 

Since joining AstraZeneca a decade ago, Pascal led a turnaround that makes the UK-headquartered company a scientific world leader having launched multiple innovative medicines, expanded its geographic presence globally, and established R & D facilities around the world including its new, state-of-the-art Discovery Centre (‘the DISC’) in Cambridge.

Today, the company enjoys the second largest market capitalisation on the London Stock Exchange with the share price quadrupling over the last 10 years.

AstraZeneca also played a critical role in the global response to COVID-19. At the outset of the pandemic, the company made the vaccine available at no profit and the vast majority of doses supplied since then have been at cost. 

Today, three billion doses have been delivered to more than 180 countries with approximately two-thirds going to low- and lower-middle-income countries. 

AstraZeneca continues to play a leading role in changing the course of the pandemic through the continued supply and distribution of the vaccine as well as Evusheld, a long-acting antibody combination designed to protect the most vulnerable people who are immuno-compromised and do not develop a response to COVID-19 vaccination.

Alongside leading AstraZeneca, Pascal is also driving change across the healthcare sector and beyond. In championing the Health Systems Taskforce of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, established by The Prince of Wales, Pascal is working with global leaders on actions to accelerate the delivery of net zero, sustainable healthcare. 

He is also joint-chair of the UK Life Sciences Council, which brings together ministers and industry with the primary goal of ensuring the UK continues to be a global leader in life sciences.

He said: “I am truly humbled by this recognition. Growing up in France I had many dreams and hopes for the future but I never thought I would receive a knighthood from Her Majesty the Queen. 

“As an Australian citizen it is a great privilege to receive this award and an honour to work with so many outstanding people around the world dedicated to following the science in order to bring medicines to patients. 

“This recognition is also theirs and I would like to thank each of them for their commitment to our mission. I am also grateful to my family for their support in enabling me to pursue a career doing what I love.”

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