Norman Sharpless, the director of the National Cancer Institute, is to serve as the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, the New York Times reports. The current commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, announced last week that he would be stepping down from his post as of next month.
Sharpless was named to head NCI in 2017 and, prior to that, directed the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He also co-founded the biopharmaceutical company G1 Therapeutics
"Dr. Sharpless's deep scientific background and expertise will make him a strong leader for FDA," Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, says in a statement, according to the Times.
In a tweet, Gottlieb says he is pleased with 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," he tweeted.
The Times adds that Azar notes that Sharpless's appointment is temporary and that the search for a permanent successor has begun.