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July 5, 2016
On June 29, 2016 FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD, released a statement appointing Richard Pazdur as acting director of the Oncology Center of Excellence under Vice-President Joseph Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Pazdur previously served as the director of Hematology and Oncology Products in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. According to Califf, Pazdur will play a critical role serving as the central point of engagement for oncology stakeholders, including patient-focused advocacy groups, professional associations, industry, academia, and sister agencies such as the National Institutes of Health.
The initiative, Califf says, calls on the agency to leverage the combined skills of regulatory scientists and reviewers with expertise in drugs, biologics, and devices to create the Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE). The OCE will expedite the development of novel combination products and support an integrated approach to treat cancer, Califf says. Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative is “aimed at speeding development of treatments by cutting bureaucracy and easing collaboration between scientists, industry, patients and government,” Reuters reports. The focus of the initiative is to double the rate of progress towards a cure for the disease in the next five years.