Photo: University of Cambridge website
Photo: University of Cambridge website

The University of Cambridge has announced that it's Chemistry Department will be named after Indian scientist and Cipla non-executive chairman Yusuf Hamied until 2050. Recognizing the former Cambridge alumus' "generous benefaction" the Chemistry department has been named as the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry. His gift also allows for a fund called the Hamied Scholars Programme to attract and support new academicians.

"The Department has received a major gift from alumnus Dr Yusuf Hamied which will support research and teaching for generations to come, and will secure the Department's leading position into the future," began a note posted onto the Cambridge website.

The Polish-born-Indian scientist was brought up in Mumbai and studied in the St. Xavier's College before heading abroad for his college years. Dr. Yusuf Hamied got his Bachelor's, Masters' and PhD degree from Cambridge. Having completed his doctorate in 1960, he joined the family company. His father Khwaja Abdul Hamied had incidentally started Cipla - an Indian multinational pharmaceutical company that today earns billions of dollars in revenue.

Over the years, Dr. Yusuf Hamied would bring in many a revolutionary change to the business and landscape - from persuading the Indian government to change Indian patent law in 1972 to bringing forth a a triple drug cocktail, Triomune, that helped fight against HIV and AIDS at prices far lower than those available internationally. He is known for championing the development of multi-drug combination pills for medical issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, asthma and more. "It has been recorded that Dr Hamied, though the son of the founder, was only given a salary after completing a full year working there!" narrated the Cipla website.

Over the years, Hamied has received several awards for his work. He has published a number of patents and research papers internationally, and in 2005 he received the Padma Bhushan. Appointed as the company's Managing Director in 1976, Dr Hamied also became the Chairman in 1989. In 2012 he moved to being non-executive Chairman, a position he still holds today.

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