Rumors are swirling about who President-elect Donald Trump may choose to lead the Food and Drug Administration and they include a venture capitalist and a former agency official.
An FDA spokesperson confirmed Thursday that current commissioner Dr. Robert Califf will submit a letter of resignation at the end of the Obama administration, which is protocol for presidential transitions. But Trump could ask him to stay, something that some physicians hope Califf will do .
Trump's FDA chief will be responsible for implementing a number of major changes expected to be brought on by the 21st Century Cures Act, which was recently passed by Congress and awaits President Barack Obama's signature. The bill offers significant changes to the product approval process and gives the agency $500 million in new funding over the next 10 years to implement those reforms.
Sources tell Bloomberg that Jim O'Neill, a confidant of billionaire Peter Thiel, is being considered for the job, but hasn't been officially selected. O'Neill serves as a managing director at Thiel's Mithril Capital Management, and served as principal associate deputy secretary at HHS under the administration of President George W. Bush.
Politico reported that O'Neill is being considered for a number of open positions within the HHS.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA deputy commissioner, is also rumored to be a candidate for the job. He's a member of the Trump transition team and currently works as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank where he studies the FDA and the CMS.
Gottlieb also serves on the Federal Health IT Policy Committee, which makes recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health IT.
The Trump press office did not respond to a request for comment.