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Acting FDA Commissioner

It has been announced that Ned Sharpless, the director of the National Cancer Institute, will be named the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration next month.

“Health secretary Alex Azar confirmed the announcement at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee.

“Sharpless, a physician-scientist, ran the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina before taking over the NCI in October 2017.

“’Dr. Sharpless’ deep scientific background and expertise will make him a strong leader for FDA,’ Azar said in a statement. ‘There will be no let-up in the agency’s focus, from ongoing efforts on drug approvals and combating the opioid crisis to modernizing food safety and addressing the rapid rise in youth use of e-cigarettes.’”

“Sharpless was an enthusiastic supporter of Gottlieb’s aggressive push to increase tobacco and e-cigarette regulations.

It is uncertain “if Sharpless will lead the FDA in a long-term capacity, he was seen as a likely pick to replace Gottlieb. Sharpless is already well acquainted with the agency, Gottlieb said in a staff memo the FDA provided to STAT.

“One of the things that made me appealing to the White House was that in addition to working in research and as a cancer center director, I’d had some work in the commercialization of ideas, from a basic science lab into a Phase 2 trial asset,” Sharpless told STAT in a 2018 interview, shortly after taking over NCI.”

Source: Sharon Begley, “STAT”