Tracing the 175-year evolution of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reveals the timeline of one of America's pioneering drug makers.
From its origins as a fledgling chemicals startup in 1849, Pfizer grew over nearly two centuries into a global healthcare conglomerate producing some of the best-selling medicines ever discovered.
Charles Pfizer and his cousin Charles F. Erhart founded a chemicals business called Charles Pfizer & Company in Brooklyn, New York.
They produced an antiparasitic called santonin that was an early success.
Pfizer built expertise in fermentation technology while boosting citric acid production, which drove major growth in the 1880s.
This know-how later helped enable mass production of penicillin.
The company moved its administrative headquarters to Manhattan to be closer to the center of New York's business district.
Bolstered by citric acid sales, Pfizer's revenues exceeded $3 million this year for the first time.
Leveraging its background in fermentation, Pfizer commercialized the mass production of citric acid from sugar-metabolizing fungi, further advancing revenues.
As the company grew substantially, Pfizer incorporated in Delaware.
This helped pave the way for future expansion.
To meet wartime demand, Pfizer utilized deep fermentation methods to mass produce penicillin for injured Allied soldiers.
They researched over 135,000 soil samples to improve yields.
The innovative mass production of penicillin led Pfizer to pivot from a chemicals company into a research-based pharmaceutical enterprise developing new drugs.
Pfizer established an animal health division with a 700-acre farm and research facility in Indiana.
They also began opening international offices to expand overseas.
The company moved its medical research laboratories from New York to a new facility in Groton, Connecticut, enabling large-scale drug discovery.
John Powers, Jr. became CEO, succeeding John McKeen and steering major growth.
Pfizer appointed Edmund T. Pratt Jr. as new CEO.
He led expansion into new drug categories like cardiovascular and anti-inflammatories.
Pfizer achieved its first blockbuster drug with Feldene anti-inflammatory, which exceeded $1 billion in sales.
This marked a new era.
Zoloft was approved, becoming one of Pfizer's most successful drugs ever with over $3 billion in 2005 sales.
Pfizer secured approvals for Aricept Alzheimer's treatment and Norvasc hypertension drug.
A deal was struck to co-market Lipitor cholesterol medication, which became the world's top-selling drug.
Expansion continued via acquisitions like cancer drug specialist Agouron.
Pfizer acquired Warner-Lambert and Pharmacia.
These massive mergers made it the world's 2nd biggest pharmaceutical company.
Henry McKinnell was appointed CEO, succeeding William C. Steere, Jr.
He oversaw acquisitions strengthening Pfizer's drug portfolio.
Pfizer merged with Pharmacia and acquired cancer drug specialist SUGEN, expanding into oncology medications.
Attorney Jeff Kindler was named new CEO, embarking on cost-cutting initiatives.
In Pfizer’s largest deal ever, they acquired rival Wyeth for $68 billion along with its pneumonia vaccine.
The improved Prevnar 13 pneumonia vaccine was launched, making $6 billion in 2022 revenues.
Albert Bourla was promoted to CEO on January 1st, succeeding his mentor Ian Read.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine received emergency approvals, making $37 billion in 2022.
Pfizer launched Paxlovid oral antiviral pill for COVID-19 treatment.
Key deals were struck for cancer drug maker Arena and migraine specialist Biohaven.
Pfizer announced a $43 billion merger agreement with Seattle Genetics to bolster oncology offerings.