Pfizer Inc. (PFE) generates revenue globally through the development, manufacture, and sale of a broad range of biopharmaceutical products. These products are derived from biological sources, such as organs and tissues, microorganisms, or animal fluids, and are obtained through biotechnological processes. Pfizer works across developed and emerging markets, and collaborates with other companies to develop therapies and medicines.

Pfizer recently developed an mRNA-based vaccine for COVID-19 in collaboration with BioNTech SE (BNTX), a German-based biotechnology company. The vaccine has been confirmed through various trials to have an efficacy rate between 90-100%.

On Aug. 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty. This vaccine is approved for individuals 16 years and older, and it¡s under emergency use authorization (EUA) for individuals 12 through 15 years of age, as well as for a third dose in immunocompromised individuals. It is the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive full approval.

The company operates in highly competitive and often highly regulated markets. The pharmaceutical industry requires significant spending on research and development. Pfizer's main competitors include Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK), Switzerland-based Novartis AG (NVS), Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

Key Takeaways

  • Pfizer develops and manufactures drug treatments to promote health and prevent disease.
  • The company's oncology products generate the most revenue, but revenue from its rare disease treatments is growing the fastest.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech have increased planned deliveries of their COVID-19 vaccine to the EU.
  • A Phase 3 trial of the COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12-15 demonstrated 100% efficacy.

Pfizer's Financials

Pfizer announced in early February results for Q4 of its 2020 fiscal year (FY), which ended Dec. 31, 2020. The company reported net income attributable to common shareholders of $594 million, a significant turnaround from a net loss of $337 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter rose 11.8% to $11.7 billion.

The company said that its results were primarily driven by a strong performance from a range of products, including Vyndaquel/Vyndamax, Eliquis, Oncology Biosimilars, and others. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, was granted emergency use authorization (EUA) in December 2020 and contributed $154 million in sales in the fourth quarter. In early February, Pfizer raised its full-year guidance for FY 2021.

Pfizer's Business Segments

Pfizer operates as a single operating segment. The company provides a breakdown of revenue, but not profits, across the following therapeutic fields: Internal Medicine; Oncology; Hospital; Vaccines; Inflammation & Immunology; and Rare Disease. We look at each of these areas in more detail below.

Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine develops therapeutics for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related disorders, certain liver diseases, obesity and related co-morbidities, and more. Its key products include Eliquis, Chantix/Champix, and the Premarin family. Revenue in Q4 FY 2020 grew 1.1% to $2.3 billion, comprising close to 20% of Pfizer's total revenue.


Oncology seeks to develop innovative treatments for breast, prostate, lung colorectal, ovarian, renal, hematologic, and other forms of cancer. Key products include Ibrance, Xtandi, Sutent, Inlyta, Retacrit, Lorbrena, and Braftovi. Quarterly revenue rose 22.6% to $3.0 billion. The Oncology field comprises about 26% of total revenue, making it Pfizer's largest source of revenue.


The Hospital field includes the company's global portfolio of sterile injectable and anti-infective medicines. It also includes Pfizer CentreOne, the company's contract manufacturing and active pharmaceutical ingredient sales operation. Its key products include Sulperazon, Medrol, Zithromax, Vfend, and Panzyga. Revenue rose 8.0% to $2.2 billion in Q4 FY 2020 compared to the year-ago quarter. The Hospital field generates 19% of total revenue.


The Vaccines field specializes in developing vaccines for pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases. But it is also working on vaccines against other major infectious diseases, such as tick-borne encephalitis and COVID-19, as well as infectious diseases that have significant unmet medical needs. Its key products include Prevnar 13/Prevenar 13 (pediatric/adult), Nimenrix, FSME/IMMUN-TicoVac, and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Revenue for the quarter rose 17.2% to $2.0 billion, comprising about 17% of the company's total revenue.

Inflammation and Immunology

The Inflammation and Immunology field develops treatments for chronic immune and inflammatory diseases. It focuses on: rheumatology, including rheumatoid arthritis; gastroenterology/hepatology, such as inflammatory bowel disease; and medical dermatology, including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Key products include Xeljanz, Enbrel (outside the U.S. and Canada), Inflectra, and Eucrisa/Staquis. Quarterly revenue grew 1.3% to $1.3 billion, accounting for nearly 11% of the total.

Rare Disease

The Rare Disease field is focused on developing therapies for patients of rare diseases, especially in areas such as rare cardiology, endocrinology, inborn errors of metabolism, and gene therapy. Its key products include Vyndaqel/Vyndamax, BeneFIX, and Genotropin. Quarterly revenue rose 26.1% to $865 million, making it Pfizer's fastest-growing source of revenue in Q4 FY 2020. The Rare Disease field accounts for more than 7% of total revenue.

Pfizer's Recent Developments

On May 15, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the use of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine for children ages 12-15.

On April 14, 2021, Pfizer and BioNTech said that they plan to increase the planned deliveries of their COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union (EU) by 25%. The acceleration of deliveries will help the EU to overcome delays from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has been linked to rare cases of blood clots. Pfizer and BioNTech now plan to deliver about 250 million doses to the EU during the second quarter.

On March 31, 2021, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that, in a Phase 3 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents between 12 and 15 years of age, the vaccine demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses. The two companies plan to submit these data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to request expansion of the EUA and EU Conditional Marketing Authorization for the vaccine.