Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla sold shares in the company worth $5.6 million on the day the drugmaker announced that its CCP virus vaccine was more than 90 percent effective, which caused Pfizer stock to surge.
Pfizer said that the stock sale was part of a pre-scheduled trading plan adopted in August.
"The sale of these shares is part of Dr. Bourla's personal financial planning and a pre-established (10b5-1) plan, which allows, under SEC rules, major shareholders and insiders of exchange-listed corporations to trade a predetermined number of shares at a predetermined time," the company said in a statement.
After peaking at nearly $42 a share on Nov. 9, they have since fallen and, at the time of reporting, were trading at $38.50.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE said no serious safety concerns were found so far, while additional safety and efficacy data continue to be collected.
The companies said they expect to apply for emergency use authorization sometime in November, raising the chance of a regulatory decision as soon as December.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity," Bourla said in a Nov. 9 statement announcing Pfizer's vaccine candidate effectiveness.
“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity, and economies struggling to reopen."
“What’s great about the biopharma industry is that there’s an incentive scheme for private industry to come up with drugs that meaningfully change the health care dynamic in the country,” he told the outlet. “I don’t know that there’s even an example, certainly not in my lifetime that I can point to, where something will have such a drastic positive effect on the whole world as a vaccine for COVID.”
Pfizer didn't take any federal funding for the development of its vaccine candidate.