Dr. Norman E. Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, will become acting director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when Commissioner Scott Gottlieb leaves the position. Gottlieb resigned as head of the FDA last week. Sharpless, 52, is expected to step into the role in early April.
The news was announced today by Alex M. Azar III, secretary of health and human services. Azar, according to The New York Times, said the appointment of Sharpless would be a temporary one while a permanent replacement can be found.
Dr. Sharpless, 52, has been head of the Cancer Institute since June 2017, when he was appointed to the position by President Trump. He previously served as the director of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
On Twitter, Gottlieb wrote that he was “delighted” by the announcement. “Ned is a friend to FDA, a great public health champion, a dedicated physician, and will be warmly welcomed into his new role. FDA will benefit greatly from his leadership,” Gottlieb wrote.