Politics, Policy & Law
Whither Woodcock; plus refresh for German biotech & modalities to market: a BioCentury podcast
Opposition by a handful of Democratic senators could scuttle Janet Woodcock’s chances to be nominated as permanent FDA commissioner, even as she has broad support among patient groups, clinicians and biopharma companies. On the latest BioCentury This Week podcast, BioCentury editors discuss whether Woodcock can clear the hurdles in her path to the post, as well as an FDA advisory committee’s recommendation to back EUA of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine, the brightening environment for Germany’s biotech ecosystem and the march of new modalities to market.
Washington Editor Steve Usdin and Editor in Chief Simone Fishburn discuss the latest considerations for the Biden administration as it moves to select a permanent FDA commissioner. Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock’s chances to gain the nomination for the post are slipping, but, importantly not gone, says Usdin, with a trio of Senate Democrats opposing her nomination because of how FDA handled the opioid crisis during her tenure as director of CDER. In addition to the lawmakers and more than 25 public interest groups that oppose Woodcock because of the agency’s handling opioids, the acting commissioner has also attracted the enmity of other groups influential in the Biden White House and on Capitol Hill, including liberal groups that believe she has not been sufficiently adversarial to drug developers, and that she impeded approval of emergency contraceptives.
While Woodcock has the support of many patient advocates, cancer researchers and clinicians, and biopharmaceutical companies, the Democratic opposition presents the Biden administration with a difficult choice because it needs the support of all Democrats to get its broader policy agenda through Congress.