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Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > 2021 > 4 > Cavazzoni named to permanent CDER director role

Cavazzoni named to permanent CDER director role

Posted 12 April 2021 | By Kari Oakes 

Cavazzoni named to permanent CDER director role

Patrizia Cavazzoni, MD

Patrizia Cavazzoni, MD, has been named director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (FDA’s CDER).
The appointment, announced on Twitter Monday morning, comes after Cavazzoni spent the past year as acting director of CDER. She was appointed to the position when Janet Woodcock, MD, left to assume her role leading the therapeutics arm of the COVID-19 accelerator Operation Warp Speed (OWS).
“Pleased to announce the permanent appointment of Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., as @FDACDERDirector, a position she has been serving in for the past year and providing exceptional leadership during this critical and unprecedented time,” wrote Woodcock on Monday morning, tweeting from her official @DrWoodcockFDA account. “Having spent most of my career with CDER, I have a deep appreciation of the role. Dr. Cavazzoni’s credentials are of the highest caliber, and I know she will continue to excel in advancing the FDA’s public health mission for the benefit of all,” continued Woodcock in a short Twitter thread.
Cavazzoni came to FDA in 2018 to serve as deputy director of operations for CDER after years in leadership positions at Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies; before that, she had a stint as a psychiatrist in academic medicine.

“I am deeply honored to have been permanently appointed as director of CDER,” wrote Cavazzoni from her official @FDACDERDirector Twitter account on Monday. “I would like to thank  @SecBecerra and Acting Commissioner @DrWoodcockFDA for entrusting me with leading CDER, and I look forward with gratitude and anticipation to serving the center and the public for many years to come,” she continued in the next tweet.

 Woodcock left OWS in January 2021 when Stephen Hahn, MD, vacated the FDA commissioner role during the transition to President Joe Biden’s administration. Since then, Woodcock has been serving as acting FDA commissioner. After joining FDA in 1986 and holding a variety of roles at the agency, Woodcock was first appointed to hold the reins at CDER in 1994. With the exception of a brief stint in the mid-2000s serving in central administrative roles for FDA, she had stayed CDER’s helm until she left for OWS.
A game of musical chairs within FDA has been created by securing the permanent CDER leadership role for Cavazzoni, while Woodcock’s FDA leadership has not been finalized. Twitter pundits and those in the drug and device industry have engaged in much speculation over who will assume the FDA directorship, but nearly 3 months into the Biden administration, Woodcock remains acting director.


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