Norman Sharpless, National Cancer Institute Director, will serve as acting commissioner of the FDA, succeeding Scott Gottlieb, who is leaving early April. Dr. Sharpless, an accomplished researcher, oncologist and administrator, was appointed to head the institute, part of NIH, in June 2017. The process of searching for a permanent replacement to Dr. Gottlieb is underway. The announcement was confirmed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a congressional hearing on March 12, 2019.
Dr. Sharpless was director of the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. He is one of the founders of G1 Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel, small-molecule therapies to treat cancer, and a founder of Sapere Bio (formerly HealthSpan Diagnostics), a clinical-phase biotechnology company measuring physiologic reserve to improve healthcare.
Dr. Gottlieb said he is resigning to spend more time with his family. Dr. Gottlieb became commissioner in May 2017, and during his tenure, worked to foster competition and reduce the cost and availability of both brand and generic medicines. In his first year as commissioner, a record number of new and generic drugs were approved.