Biden nominates Robert Califf to lead FDA

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The former FDA commissioner is currently working with Verily Life Sciences and Duke University.

President Joe R. Biden is tapping an old hand to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcing his intention to nominate Robert Califf, MD, as administrator.

According to a written statement from Biden, Califf’s experience as a clinical trialist and in already leading the agency will enable him to head the FDA while it still fights to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am confident Dr. Califf will ensure that the FDA continues its science and data driven decision-making,” Biden says in the statement.

Califf served as commissioner at the tail end of the Obama administration, from 2014 to early 2017, and currently serves as vice chancellor for clinical and translational research at Duke University and senior advisor at Verily Life Sciences and Google Health.


“Dr. Califf has led many landmark clinical trials and is one of the most frequently cited authors in biomedical science, with more than 1,200 publications in the peer-reviewed literature,” Biden says in the release.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra also touted Califf’s experience in his own statement on the nomination.

"I congratulate President Biden's choice for our next (FDA) Commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf, and urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm his nomination in support of our ongoing work tackling COVID-19 and more,” Becerra says in the statement. “Dr. Califf knows the job and is ready for the challenge.”

Both Biden and Becerra expressed their appreciation of the work Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, has performed during her tenure.

“Dr. Janet Woodcock, Acting FDA Commissioner, has been instrumental in the Biden-Harris Administration in leading FDA through these challenging times,” Becerra says. “We will continue to be on solid footing because of her continued leadership and focus on strengthening FDA and supporting its workforce."