A letter from our chairman and CEO



To Our Shareholders

2020 was a year like none other in Pfizer’s history – defined by bold decisions, even bolder actions and incredible results. With the separation of Upjohn, we created a company that was 20% smaller but more focused than ever on delivering first-in-class science for the benefit of patients. Through our collaboration with BioNTech, we delivered a breakthrough COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year. And by harnessing the power of a variety of digital capabilities – as well as our own steadfast commitment to patients – we made sure that despite lockdowns and travel restrictions, we continued to reach more than 400 million patients worldwide with our medicines and vaccines.
To the outside world, it may have appeared that COVID-19 was the only thing we were working on in 2020, but that could not be further from the truth. While we invested significant time, resources and brainpower to find medical solutions to the pandemic, tens of thousands of Pfizer colleagues continued to advance equally important work across all of our therapeutic areas – recognizing that the needs of those suffering from other diseases were no less urgent.​​​​​​​

The New Pfizer

With the completion of the Upjohn-Mylan transaction, we saw the culmination of a bold, decade-long transformation of Pfizer from a large, diversified enterprise to a smaller, science-driven, innovative biopharma company. The new Pfizer is all about two things: science and patients. By uniting transformational technology and cutting-edge science, we are pioneering biopharmaceutical innovations to do more than just treat difficult diseases – we want to cure and prevent them. Our pipeline currently includes 95 potential new therapies or indications. That’s 95 potential opportunities to change the lives of patients around the world. 

As the calendar turned to 2021, we marked this transformation by launching a new corporate brand identity. Our new emblem is a digital-first expression of our commitment to the transformative power of science. It’s a dynamic reflection of our purpose: Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. And it’s a clear signal that the new Pfizer is about daring more courageously, inquiring more deeply and advocating more passionately to make what was once unimaginable, reality.​​​​​​​

Leading the Battle Against COVID-19

Of course, the biggest story of 2020 for Pfizer was our work with BioNTech to develop and deliver the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine granted a conditional marketing authorization, Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or temporary authorization in more than 50 countries worldwide.

It took us just 269 days from the day we announced our plans to collaborate with BioNTech to the day we received the EUA from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and I couldn’t be more proud of how our colleagues stepped up when the world needed us the most.

Our ability to move at such extraordinary speed – while always maintaining our focus on quality and safety – was the first powerful display of what the new Pfizer is capable of. While we never imagined a pandemic of this magnitude, every action we have taken over the past several years has been to transform Pfizer into an agile, scientific powerhouse capable of addressing the world’s most devastating diseases. 

Because of the dire need to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, we continue to explore innovative plans to increase the number of doses we are able to produce globally by the end of 2021. Based on the updated 6-dose labeling and subject to continuous process improvements, expansion at current facilities and adding new suppliers and contract manufacturers, we now believe we can potentially manufacture at least two billion doses in total by year’s end.

From day one of our vaccine development program, our outreach has been broad and inclusive to help support equitable access. Pfizer and BioNTech have engaged governments and global health organizations around the world, and we currently have supply agreements, or are in talks with, more than 100 countries and supranational organizations for the supply of our COVID-19 vaccine. We also have allocated doses for supply to low-income countries at a not-for-profit price, and we remain committed to partnering with global health stakeholders when possible to provide expertise and resources where greater support may be needed to deploy COVID-19 vaccines.

Delivering Results

While driving a dramatic transformation of our company and developing a vaccine that quite literally might change the world, we continued to deliver strong results in our R&D pipeline, with our financial performance and with regard to our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments.

R&D Productivity: We have driven incredible improvements in our clinical success rates.1 For example, our Phase 2 success rate on a five-year rolling average more than tripled from 15% five years ago to 52% as of year-end 2020 – which is almost double the 2019 industry benchmark of 29%. Significantly, most of these successes are either first-in-class assets or innovations built on established mechanisms with novel scientific designs. In addition, our end-to-end success rate more than quadrupled over the same time frame from 5% to 21% – almost triple the 2019 industry benchmark of 8%. We believe these metrics demonstrate that through our science, we are selecting assets to move through the R&D process that have the best chance of benefiting patients. 

Financial Performance: Despite the challenging business environment created by the pandemic and the significant amount of resources we devoted to developing a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, we generated 8% operational revenue growth for the year from our biopharmaceutical product portfolio – excluding the results of the divested Upjohn business, the revenue impact from Consumer Healthcare and $154 million of sales of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.2 This 8% operational growth included a negative 2% impact due to the slowdown in macroeconomic and healthcare activity resulting from the pandemic.

ESG Commitments: As massive societal, environmental and economic shifts are challenging the way we think about global health and, more broadly, health equity, Pfizer is working to more intentionally connect our purpose with our ESG strategy. One example of the great strides we have made in this area was Pfizer moving up from 11th to 4th place in the most recent Access to Medicine Index (ATMI). This ranking underscores our continued commitment to access and equity in healthcare, motivating us to stay laser-focused on both developing medical breakthroughs and helping to ensure that they are accessible to the greatest number possible of patients around the world. You can read more about our commitment to ESG in our 2020 ESG Report here.

Positioned for Future Growth

Looking ahead, we remain focused on being nimble and investing in our R&D organization, so we can build on the strong improvement in key metrics we’ve seen over the past five years. We continue to expect a revenue CAGR of at least 6%, on a risk-adjusted basis, through the end of 2025, as well as double-digit growth on the bottom line.We remain very confident in our ability to achieve these growth rates because of the strength of both our current product portfolio and our R&D pipeline. At the same time, we will continue to pursue business development opportunities with the potential to enhance our long-term (post-2025) growth prospects.​​​​​​

Through it all, our Purpose Blueprint will remain our roadmap for success, our commitment to patients will be our North Star, and the power of science will be the engine that drives us forward. In 2020, these factors helped us make the seemingly impossible possible. In the years ahead, we believe they will help ensure Science Will Win the battle against not only COVID-19 but many other diseases as well.

Thank you for your continued support of our important work.​

Dr. Albert Bourla
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer​​​​​​​

We encourage you to read our 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which includes our audited consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020, and the sections captioned "Risk Factors" and "Forward Looking Information and Factors that May Affect Future Results," for a description of the substantial risks and uncertainties related to the forward-looking statements included herein. Patient counts included herein are estimates derived from multiple data sources.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 16 years of age and older. The emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564(b)(1) of the FD&C Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner. Please see EUA Fact Sheet at www.cvdvaccine.com. ​​​​​​​


1Success rates are based on a 5-year rolling average for Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies, and a 3-year rolling average for Phase 1 studies, with the cut-off for the Pfizer analysis ending on fiscal year-end 2020 and the cut-off for the industry’s analysis ending on fiscal year-end 2019, which is the most recent information available. The analysis includes only studies involving new molecular entities. The “industry” in this analysis was based on the Pharmaceutical Benchmarking Forum’s participant companies: AbbVie Inc.; Allergan PLC (which was acquired by AbbVie Inc. in May 2020); Bayer AG; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Eli Lilly & Company; Gilead Sciences, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Merck & Co., Inc.; Novartis AG; Pfizer; Roche; and Sanofi. 

2Operational revenue growth also excludes the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange. For additional information on the company's operational revenue performance, see the "Analysis of the Consolidated Statements of Income" in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in the 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K.

3These projections do not include any potential impact from our COVID-19 vaccine.


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