The University of Sydney has awarded an honorary doctorate to Alek Safarian in recognition of his contribution to pharmaceutical development and regulation, and commitment to new educational opportunities for students.
A leading innovator in the pharmaceutical and therapeutics sector, Mr Safarian is the founder of Australia’s largest private medical research firm, Novotech, which works across the Asia-Pacific region and has been involved in over 1000 clinical trials of novel therapeutic products.
“Mr Safarian’s influence in the pharmaceutical sector is inspirational,” said University of Sydney’s Head of School and Dean of Pharmacy, Professor Andrew McLachlan.
“By working tirelessly to make therapeutic interventions and products affordable and accessible, he has reduced and prevented the burden of disease and ill-health and improved the lives of millions of people across the word.”
Born in London, Mr Safarian emigrated to Australia with his family in the 1980s. In 1987, he graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Pharmacy, after which he achieved rapid success – quickly assuming the position of Head of Scientific Affairs at pharmaceutical company Marion Merrell Dow.
Mr Safarian returned to the University of Sydney in the early 1990s to complete a fully employer-funded Master of Business Administration (MBA). It was here his role as a sector leader began to take shape, fuelled in part by his burgeoning interest in the intersection between business and science. Today, he is CEO of ALSA Holdings, a European biotechnology investment firm that invests across the spectrum of drug development.
As a strong advocate for the role of education in providing tremendous personal, professional and societal opportunity, Mr Safarian generously supported the establishment of the ongoing Alek Safarian MBA Scholarship. The donation has been instrumental in providing equality of opportunity to outstanding young professionals who are keen to combine their clinical skills with business knowledge in the key areas of leadership, innovation and enterprise.
As a well-respected and influential figure in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, Mr Safarian continues to inspire staff and students at the Sydney Pharmacy School with his ongoing collegiality, support and mentorship.
Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the wider community or who have achieved exceptional academic or creative excellence. Mr Safarian was admitted into the Doctor of Medicine and Health (honoris causa) in a ceremony at the University of Sydney Great Hall on the 28th of April 2021.