Sector News

Trump set to pick MD Anderson’s Hahn as FDA chief: reports

October 2, 2019
Life sciences

Get involved in the discussion! Click here to comment on this story

President Donald Trump is poised to nominate Stephen Hahn as the next commissioner of the FDA, according to BioCentury. Hahn, a radiation oncologist, is chief medical executive of the MD Anderson Cancer Center and reportedly the preferred pick of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar.

Multiple reports have now identified Hahn as the most likely person to replace Scott Gottlieb as the next permanent commissioner of the FDA. Early last month, Politico Pro named Hahn as the “clear frontrunner,” adding that he was the only one of the three finalists to meet with Trump in person. The BioCentury report and a subsequent article in Stat also said Hahn is set to get the nomination.

All the reports note that Hahn still needs to complete background checks. If Hahn passes the checks, Trump will nominate him as FDA commissioner and the Senate confirmation process will begin.

Hahn’s background differs from those of his predecessors. Gottlieb did a stint at the FDA before coming back to take the top job. And Margaret Hamburg and Robert Califf, who held leadership roles during the Obama years, each had public health policy experience from time spent at the HHS and FDA, respectively.

In contrast, Hahn has spent the vast majority of his career at academic medical centers, starting out at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1990s before arriving at MD Anderson to lead the radiation oncology division about five years ago.

Some prominent people had called for Trump to make more of a continuity pick by nominating Ned Sharpless, who is serving as interim commissioner. Former FDA commissioners including Gottlieb lobbied for Sharpless to get the position on a permanent basis, as did more than 50 groups involved in cancer and other areas affected by the agency.

That lobbying looks to have failed, suggesting Sharpless will return to the National Cancer Institute and Hahn will take the top job at the FDA. A sizable slice of Hahn’s inbox upon arrival at the FDA is likely to focus on issues unrelated to biopharma as the agency’s handling of vaping is in the spotlight.

By Nick Paul Taylor

Source: Fierce Biotech

Join the discussion!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related News

November 14, 2019

UnitedHealth adds new C-suite member from Lockheed Martin

Life sciences

LinkedIn Twitter FacebookUnitedHealth Group Inc. has hired Patricia Lewis as its new chief human resources officer. She’ll serve in the office of the chief executive, the company said in an email. […]

November 13, 2019

Novartis’ Sandoz to acquire Aspen Japan for $331m

Life sciences

LinkedIn Twitter FacebookNovartis subsidiary Sandoz has signed an agreement to buy Aspen Japan operations and related intellectual property from Aspen Global for an upfront payment of €300m ($331m) in cash. […]

November 12, 2019

Amgen to cut 149 staff in retreat from neuroscience R&D

Life sciences

LinkedIn Twitter FacebookAmgen has given notice of its intent to lay off 149 people at its Cambridge, Massachusetts, operation by the end of the year. The notice comes weeks after […]

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter

We're easy to reach