The portfolio awaiting Pao at Pfizer will include similar therapeutic areas like infectious diseases, neuroscience, immunology, blood disorders and rare disease. Pfizer has also invested heavily in gene therapy, an area Roche is exploring as well through its acquisition of Spark Therapeutics.

Pfizer has undergone a substantial transformation over the past decade. The pharma lost patent protection for what was then the top-selling drug product in the world, Lipitor, in 2011, a setback that equated to about $8 billion in lost annual revenue. In subsequent years, the company began relying on a wider array of medicines and invested in building a broader pipeline of experimental candidates.

Pao will be expected to further this strategy, especially as investors start to pay attention to Pfizer’s longer-term outlook and how it plans to use profits from its COVID-19 vaccine.

“Building on this strong momentum, I am honored to assume the leadership of Pfizer’s global product development organization to help bring the next transformative medicines to the world faster,” Pao said in a statement.