Pfizer’s executives sold stock worth millions the day the giant announced vaccine news

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold his company’s stock worth nearly $5.6 million on Monday, the day the pharmaceutical giant announced positive data about its coronavirus vaccine.

The shares of the company soared after Pfizer and European drug company BioNTech said early data suggests the vaccine could be more than 90% effective.

The transaction was part of a regularly scheduled plan set up by Bourla to periodically sell some of his Pfizer shares.

Bourla sold 132,508 Pfizer shares at a price of $41.94, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

When asked if Pfizer and Bourla thought to cancel the stock sale due to the perception that Bourla might be cashing in on good news, the spokeswoman said that “these are predetermined plans managed through a third-party stock administrator.”

Another Pfizer officer, executive vice president Sally Susman, also sold shares Monday as part of a prearranged plan. Susman sold 43,662 shares at the same $41.94 price that Bourla sold at, a transaction valued at more than $1.8 million.

Many executives sell stock at predetermined intervals to diversify their portfolios. But they can delay the sales to avoid appearances of capitalizing on one-off events that can boost company’s shares.