FDA Names New Director of CDER

By Miranda Greenberg -

April 15, 2021

Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., has been appointed as Director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). She has served as Acting Director for the past year.

She succeeds Janet Woodcock, M.D., now Acting FDA Commissioner and former Director of CDER. Dr. Woodcock become Acting FDA Commissioner in January 2021. From late 2020 to her appointment as Acting FDA Commissioner in January 2021, she split her time as an advisor on therapeutics for Operation Warp Speed, a US government initiative to speed the development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines while also serving as the Principal Medical Advisor to the FDA Commissioner on key priorities on behalf of the Office of the Commissioner. Dr. Woodcock had served as CDER Director from 1994 to 2004 and from 2004 to 2020.

Dr. Cavazzoni joined the FDA in January 2018 as CDER’s Deputy Director for Operations. She also served as FDA’s Acting Principal Deputy Commissioner of Food and Drugs from January 2019 to February 2019.

Dr. Cavazzoni received her medical degree at McGill University and completed a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in mood disorders at the University of Ottawa. During her training, she was an investigator in clinical trials of antipsychotic and antidepressant medications and became a research collaborator within the International Group for The Study of Lithium Treated Patients. She subsequently received a full-time appointment to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and joined the Mood Disorders Program at the Royal Ottawa Hospital.

After her tenure in academic medicine, Dr. Cavazzoni worked in the pharmaceutical industry for several years and held senior executive positions in clinical development, regulatory affairs, and safety risk management in large companies across multiple therapeutic areas, until she joined the FDA.

Source: US Food and Drug Administration and FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock