Who is Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla? Here's when pharma giant's Covid-19 vaccine is expected to launch in USA
The CEO of America's largest pharmaceutical company has said he believes a vaccine for Covid-19 could be ready for approval possibly by the next month, and might as well be available for distribution by the end of the year. Albert Bourla, CEO of New York-based Pfizer, told in CBS's ‘Face the Nation’ on September 13 that he was positive about the news. He said there was a 60 percent chance that his scientists will know by the end of October if their vaccine was effective, and upon finding it so, doses could be produced quickly as reported by Daily Mail.
“We have a good chance that we will know if the product works by the end of October. And then, of course, it is the regulator's job to issue a license or not,” he said. He further made comments when asked if Americans would have to wait until 2021 to get their vaccine. “I don't know if they have to wait until 2021, because, as I said, our studies, we have a good chance that we will know if the product works by the end of October.”
The pharma giant, Pfizer, with 88,000 employees working in 150 countries, is one of several biotech firms working rigorously on a vaccine. On September 12, Pfizer announced they were raising the trial size for the new vaccine from 30,000 people up to 44,000, and increasing the range of people who will be sampled, reports Daily Mail.
As per a press release by Pfizer, the proposed increase would allow the companies to include adolescents as young as 16 years of age and people with chronic, stable HIV (human immunodeficiency viruses), Hepatitis C, or Hepatitis B infection, as well as provide additional safety and efficacy data. On its expansion of trials, Bourla said, “Now, we feel quite comfortable with the safety of the product. So we want to expand to more vulnerable populations.” With such assertions on the vaccine, it is worth shedding light on who Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla is and whether these claims are believable.
Who is Albert Bourla?
Bourla began his career with Pfizer in 1993 in the Animal Health Division as Technical Director of Greece. He is a doctor of veterinary medicine and holds a PhD. in the Biotechnology of Reproduction from the Veterinary School of Aristotle University. In the 2000s, he took up several leadership positions in the animal health sector as per Pfizer. This included US Group Marketing Director between 2001 to 2004, Vice President of Business Development and New Products Marketing between 2004 to 2006, and Area President of Animal Health Europe, Africa and the Middle East from 2006 to 2009 at Pfizer.
With more than 25 years at Pfizer, Albert has built a diverse and successful career and took the job as CEO in January 2019 at the pharma giant. More recently, in 2020, Bourla was ranked America’s top CEO in the pharmaceuticals sector by Institutional Investor magazine as per Forbes.
Reportedly, Bourla has become very confident that Pfizer's efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine will be successful. In a July 7 interview this year with Time magazine, Bourla said he believes that Food and Drug Administration approval could come as soon as October for the vaccine. On the basis of promising results in an early-stage trial released on July 1, Pfizer has dramatically increased the projections for the number of doses it will produce this year, from tens of millions to 100 million, as per Time. It is after this assertion that Pfizer enrolled more participants in its trials and Bourla has reportedly claimed that the coronavirus vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year.