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People in the News: Margaret Hamburg, Thomas Bachmann, and more

Margaret Hamburg, Stephen Ostroff 

After serving as US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner for nearly six years, Margaret Hamburg is stepping step down from the post at the end of March. 

Stephen Ostroff will serve as acting commissioner afterHamburg's departure. Ostroff most recently served as the agency's chief scientist. 

During her tenure, Hamburg has been a strong proponent of personalized medicine and the agency approved new molecularly targeted drugs for lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, and cystic fibrosis. The FDA also issued critical guidelines to help industry advance drugs alongside companion diagnostics that identify patients most likely to benefit from treatment. "We have ushered in the era of personalized medicine across all of our medical product centers," she said in a letter posted on the FDA's website announcing her resignation. "A growing percentage of our recent approvals have involved targeted therapies, offering many patients more effective response profiles and/or reduced likelihood of side effects." 

The Personalized Medicine Coalition recently estimated that 20 percent of the new drugs that the agency approved last year involved a biomarker and applauded her dedication to the field. "Her commitment to personalized medicine was second to none," PMC President Edward Abrahams said in a statement. 

Under Hamburg's leadership, the FDA also released draft guidance on laboratory-developed tests last October. Although the move was highly controversial, Hamburg has stood by the agency's authority to regulate such tests and the need for added oversight as the practice of molecular medicine has grown rapidly. "It was under her leadership that the historic Medical Device User Fee Agreement III was struck, bringing significant new resources, accountability, and improvements to the device review process," the diagnostic industry group AdvaMed said in a statement. "In addition, she was a key advocate to strengthen oversight for certain laboratory-developed tests, which have become far more complex and critical to patient care and medical decision making." 

Thomas Bachmann

Bruker BioSpin Group President Thomas Bachmann is resigning from Bruker, effective in July in order to become the president and CEO of the Eppendorf Group. He will remain president of Bruker BioSpin until the end of the second quarter and start his new position no later than Aug. 1, Bruker said in a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Bruker will begin a search for his successor. Bachmann has been president of Bruker BioSpin since August 2013 and a member of Eppendorf's supervisory board since 2013.  

Gerald Möller

Gerald Möller has informed Illumina that he will retire from its board of directors, effective immediately before the firm's 2015 annual meeting of stockholders. He has been a director at Illumina since July 2010 and is currently an advisor at HBM Bio Ventures, a Swiss investment firm focusing on biotechnology, emerging pharma, and medical technology. 

Carrie Wolinetz

The National Institutes of Health has appointed Carrie Wolinetz associate director for science policy, effective Feb. 23. Wolinetz currently serves as president of United for Medical Research, a group that advocates for research funding. She also has been serving as deputy vice president for federal relations with the Association of American Universities. She is an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service's program on Science, Technology & International Affairs, and is a past chair of the advocacy committee for the Association for Women in Science. Wolinetz also previously served as director of scientific affairs and public relations at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 

For more recent items on executive appointments and promotions in the omics and molecular diagnostics industries, please see the People in the News page on our website.