WPI Alumni at Pfizer Making a Difference



Thank you to Lynne Handanyan ’86, Vice President, Chemical R&D at Pfizer, for sharing this story with us.


Pfizer is making four promises that will help scientists more rapidly bring forward therapies and vaccines to protect humankind from this escalating pandemic, and prepare the industry to better respond to future global health crises. WPI alumni/Pfizer scientists are contributing to these efforts.

1. Sharing tools and insights: With very little known about this virus, many are working to develop cell-based assays, viral screening, serological assays, and translational models to test potential therapies and vaccines. Pfizer is committed to making the vital tools we develop available on an open source platform to the broader scientific community and to sharing the data and learnings gained with other companies in real time to rapidly advance therapies and vaccines to patients.

2. Marshalling our people: Human capital is Pfizer's most valuable resource. It has created a SWAT team of leading virologists, biologists, chemists, clinicians, epidemiologists, vaccine experts, pharmaceutical scientists and other key experts to focus solely on addressing this pandemic. This team is applying their passion, commitment and expertise to a single focus of accelerating the discovery and development process that will deliver therapies and vaccines to patients as soon as possible.

3. Applying our drug development expertise: Many smaller biotech companies are screening compounds or existing therapies for activity against the virus causing COVID-19, but some lack the experience in late stage development and navigating the complex regulatory systems. Pfizer is committed to sharing our clinical development and regulatory expertise to support the most promising candidates these companies bring forward.

4. Offering our manufacturing capabilities: Once a therapy or vaccine is approved it will need to be rapidly scaled and deployed around the world to put an end to this pandemic. As one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines and therapeutics, Pfizer is committed to using any excess manufacturing capacity and to potentially shifting production to support others in rapidly getting these life-saving breakthroughs into the hands of patients as quickly as possible.