- Pfizer is tapping a top executive at the high-profile consulting firm McKinsey to oversee its company strategy and dealmaking efforts, announcing Thursday Aamir Malik will replace veteran Pfizer leader John Young as chief business innovation officer.
- Malik, who will report to Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla, was most recently a managing partner for McKinsey's U.S. operations. He previously ran the firm's pharmaceutical and medical products business. Malik will take over for Young, who is retiring after 34 years at Pfizer, next week on Aug. 30.
- As chief business innovation officer, Malik will have an expansive role leading future acquisitions and business ventures by Pfizer, as well as setting priorities for management of the drugmaker's large pipeline of experimental medicines.
News of Malik's appointment comes days after Pfizer announced a deal to buy cancer drug specialist Trillium Therapeutics for $2.3 billion, extending a pattern of acquisitions that looks set to continue even as the pharma company reshuffles its leadership.
Under Bourla's leadership, Pfizer has narrowed its focus to brand-name medicines, shedding its generic drug unit Upjohn in a 2019 deal with Mylan and spinning off its consumer health business in a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline.
At the same time, Pfizer has invested more heavily in building up its drug research in cancer, immune and rare diseases, most notably through high-dollar deals for Medivation and Array Biopharma.
In recent comments to investors, Bourla has indicated Pfizer is most interested in doing smaller to mid-sized deals for clinical-stage drugs within the company's main therapeutic areas of focus, particularly for those that may bear fruit after 2025, when patents on some of Pfizer's top-selling medicines expire.
But the CEO has also reminded investors that the company has the financial capacity to pull off most deals. "Frankly, we have the ability to basically do everything that exists out there if we wanted to," Bourla said in January. "It's just that we are not going to do anything that exists out there unless we are very confident that produces significant value for Pfizer."
The company's finances have been boosted dramatically by the success of its and partner BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine, revenue from which is expected to total $34 billion this year, a record-setting sum for a pharmaceutical product.
Finding useful ways to spend that cash within Pfizer's existing strategy will now fall to Malik and the business development teams he'll lead.
In a statement on the appointment, Bourla cited Malik's two-and-a-half decades of experience at McKinsey working in the sector and on mergers and acquisitions, calling the executive an "ideal leader" for Pfizer.
Young, who Malik will replace, has served as Pfizer's chief business officer since January 2019, when Bourla officially took over as company CEO from the retiring Ian Read. Prior to that role, Young led Pfizer's Essential Health and Innovative Health business units.