Biden nominates former FDA Commissioner Robert Califf to run the agency

Califf expected to take over from acting Commissioner Woodstock when she steps down from role.

On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced he nominated Dr Robert Califf to serve as the chief of the Food and Drug Administration. Califf, a cardiologist who works at the Duke University School of Medicine has history with the agency. He had a short stint as the agency’s commissioner under the Obama administration and had also served as deputy commissioner of the FDA’s medical products and tobacco office. He is also a senior advisor to Google parent Alphabet’s life sciences organization. "Dr. Robert Califf is one of the most experienced clinical trialists in the country, and has the experience and expertise to lead the Food and Drug Administration during a critical time in our nation’s fight to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic," Biden said Friday in a statement.

Califf is also said to enjoy bipartisan support. The agency has been without a permanent chief since Biden took over in January and is currently being headed by acting Commissioner Dr Janet Woodstock. It is reported Woodstock’s appointment as the agency’s permanent chief received opposition from some members of Congress given how she handled the opioids crisis while at the agency. “I first want to thank Dr. Janet Woodcock for her leadership over the last year,” said Biden in a statement. “She has done an incredible job leading the agency during what has been a busy and challenging time, and both she and the FDA career staff have worked hard and followed the science to ensure the American public can trust the decisions being made by the FDA.”