AstraZeneca CEO Sir Pascal Soriot awarded prestigious SCI President's Medal

27 March 2024


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AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Officer Sir Pascal Soriot was today awarded the one of the highest honours by prestigious science institution SCI® for his role in accelerating scientific innovation and for leading the company’s global Covid-19 vaccination programme.

AstraZeneca collaborated with Oxford University to develop and manufacture one of the first Covid vaccines worldwide at the start of the pandemic. 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®, established in 1881 as the Society of Chemical Industry, today announced it was to make a rare award of its President’s Medal to Sir Pascal for his ‘brave and responsible business decisions’.

The action Soriot took in 2020 vastly accelerated the administration of the new vaccine reaching 180 countries around the world, saving an estimated 6.3 million lives in the first year of the pandemic alone.

SCI® President, Paul Drechsler, in announcing the award said:

‘What Pascal did was extraordinary. At such a crucial moment in history, the decision to forgo profit saved many, many lives and allowed 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.’

Sir Pascal Soriot said:

‘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.

‘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.’

The SCI President will formally present the medal to Sir Pascal in a ceremony in April 2024.

Established in 1946, the medal has only been awarded 11 times in its 78-year history. In 1992, it was awarded to the chemist and first British astronaut Helen Sharman. It was last awarded in 1998 to Sir James Black, Nobel Laureate for Medicine and creator of beta-blockers and life-saving drugs.

Notes to editors:

About SCI: where science meets business

SCI is a unique global multi-disciplinary innovation network bringing together scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs to develop scientific solutions to the biggest challenges facing society today.

Founded in 1881 by prominent scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs under Royal Charter as the Society of Chemical Industry, SCI’s objective is to accelerate science out of the laboratory for the benefit of society.

SCI’s work includes the promotion of emerging technologies, supporting young scientists and engineers with skills development programmes, and working with policy makers to create the environment to support innovation and creating collaborations across industry, academia and government. The SCI network works across crucial issues such as renewable energy, sustainability and new forms of cancer treatments.

For more information about SCI, visit

About the SCI President’s Medal

One of the senior awards of the Society, the President’s Medal recognises an individual for outstanding leadership in developing innovations for society. The award is given to a recipient who has contributed significantly by their office or influence to support SCI’s purpose, particularly internationally.

The previous winners of the President’s Medal are:

1962 EJ Solvay
1963 J Rogers
1966 Sir Sydney Barratt and JS Gourlay
1969 Sir Ronald Holroyd
1976 Lord Kearton
1981 DM Bell
1991 Sir Rex Richards
1992 Helen Sharman
1993 M Fleischmann
1995 Y Nishijima
1998 Sir James Black

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/NYSE: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology; Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism; and Respiratory and Immunology.

Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 counties and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

For more information on AstraZeneca please visit

For further information please contact:

Liane Farrer

020 7598 1562

Contact Liane Farrer