USA —The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that Dr. Namandjé Bumpus, the current Chief Scientist, will step into the role of Principal Deputy Commissioner upon the retirement of the esteemed Janet Woodcock in early 2024.

Janet Woodcock, a stalwart at the FDA with 35 years of dedicated service, will be passing the torch to Dr. Bumpus, who has been a driving force behind the agency’s scientific initiatives.

The transition, anticipated over the next few months, reflects the FDA’s commitment to maintaining its reputation as a premier science-based organization.

Dr. Bumpus, who assumed the role of Chief Scientist in mid-2022, has been pivotal in advancing the FDA’s research foundation, science, and innovation.

Her background as a professor and chairperson of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine brings a wealth of experience in drug metabolism and the impact of antivirals on both humans and pathogens.

Commissioner Robert Califf expressed confidence in Dr. Bumpus’s ability to step into Woodcock’s shoes, acknowledging the challenges of succeeding a legendary leader.

He emphasized Dr. Bumpus’s capability to continue elevating the FDA’s role as a science-driven organization.

The FDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist, led by Dr. Bumpus, plays a pivotal role in supporting the agency’s regulatory mission.

This involves scientific collaborations, laboratory safety, technology transfer to the private sector, scientific integrity in decision-making, and the core research component – the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research.

One of Dr. Bumpus’s key priorities in her upcoming role as Principal Deputy Commissioner will be to overhaul the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs.

This branch, responsible for inspections, drug import monitoring, and safety-related actions like recalls and market withdrawals, will see a transformative new model under her leadership.

Dr. Bumpus’s notable involvement in critical decisions, such as the withdrawal of Covis Pharma’s controversial preterm birth drug Makena earlier this year, showcases her commitment to ensuring public health safety.

Commissioner Califf commended her as a “champion of plain language” in public health communication, reflecting her dedication to transparent and accessible information.

As Dr. Bumpus prepares to take the reins, she faces the challenge of succeeding Janet Woodcock, a veteran leader who held influential positions in the FDA’s drug review and commissioner offices.

Woodcock’s role as an adviser to the White House’s COVID-19 efforts further highlights the significance of the position Dr. Bumpus is poised to undertake.

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