Ned Sharpless to be Acting FDA Commissioner

Following the resignation of Scott Gottlieb, Ned Sharpless has been appointed Acting FDA Commissioner. FDA’s priorities, including initiatives related to the drug approval process, the opioid crisis and food safety modernization are not expected to change, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Sharpless has been especially supportive of FDA’s work on strengthening e-cigarette regulations and may also be interested in the role of artificial intelligence in improving treatments. Sharpless is familiar with biotech and drug development, and the biopharma industry is likely to be supportive if he is chosen to assume the permanent Commissioner position, an outcome for which Sharpless reportedly has Gottlieb’s backing.