Pfizer CEO unloads $5.6M of stock as coronavirus vaccine hopes send shares soaring

The share sale was part of a scheduled Rule 10b5-1 trading plan

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold $5.6 million of company stock Monday as shares soared 15% on the news that a late-stage trial found the company’s COVID-19 vaccine to be 90% effective.

Bourla sold 132,508 Pfizer shares at a price of $41.94 apiece through a scheduled Rule 10b5-1 trading plan adopted on Aug. 19, one day after the company announced positive results from a Phase 1 study. He owned 81,812 Pfizer shares following the planned sale.

"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," a Pfizer spokesperson said in a statement.

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech on Aug. 19 said the experimental vaccine could receive regulatory review as soon as October. In an open letter dated Oct. 16, Bourla wrote Pfizer could potentially apply for emergency authorization use in the third week of November. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PFE PFIZER INC. 44.05 -0.28 -0.64%


Bourla wasn’t the only Pfizer executive to sell stock on Monday. Executive Vice President Sally Susman, through her own Rule 10b5-1 trading plan, cashed out 43,662 shares at a price of $41.94 apiece, netting her $1.8 million. Susman still owns 108,804 shares.

Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine, which is on track to be the first for COVID-19 to receive regulatory approval, could be administered to most Americans by the middle of 2021. The companies could produce 50 million doses by the end of this year and as many as 1.3 billion doses next year.


Despite the positive news surrounding Pfizer’s quest for a COVID-19 vaccine, shares have fallen 1.28% this year through Monday, underperforming the S&P 500’s 9.74% gain.