Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf Joins Critical Path Institute Board

Critical Path Institute has announced the appointment of Dr. Robert M. Califf, head of clinical policy and strategy for Google parent company Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences and Google Health divisions, to C-Path’s board of directors. Califf served as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner in President Barack Obama’s administration from 2016-2017.

A nationally and internationally recognized expert in cardiovascular medicine, health outcomes research, health care quality and clinical research, Califf has led many landmark clinical trials and is one of the most frequently cited authors in biomedical science, with more than 1,200 publications in the peer-reviewed literature.

“It’s an honor to join C-Path’s board, as its organizational mission and vision align with my conviction that collaborative science is a key component of translating computing and technology into better health and health care,” said Califf. “My roles at Verily and Google Health support this, and I know I will draw from my experience to help C-Path continue to innovate and accelerate the path to drug development and approval.”

Califf has a long history with Duke University and, until November 2019, was founding director of Forge, Duke’s center for actionable health data science and vice chancellor for Health Data Science. At Duke, he also served as the Dr. Donald F. Fortin professor of cardiology in the School of Medicine, vice chancellor for clinical and translational research and founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, which he helped grow into the nation’s largest academic clinical research organization.

Within the FDA, Califf served as deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco where he provided executive leadership to the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Center for Devices and Radiological Health and Center for Tobacco Products. He also oversaw the Office of Special Medical Programs and provided direction for cross-cutting clinical, scientific and regulatory initiatives, including personalized medicine, orphan drugs, pediatric science and the advisory committee system. He was appointed commissioner in February 2016, where he was committed to strengthening programs and policies that enabled the agency to carry out its mission to protect and promote the public health.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Califf to C-Path’s board. For decades, Rob has been an influential voice in stressing the importance of, and driving, public-private partnerships in the health industry,” said Board Chairman Dr. Timothy R. Franson. “Partnerships and collaboration are the foundation of C-Path’s work, and we know his contributions will make a significant difference in C-Path’s aim to transform the medical product development process.”

Califf has led major initiatives aimed at improving methods and infrastructure for clinical research, including the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative, a public-private partnership co-founded by the FDA and Duke. He also served as the principal investigator for Duke’s Clinical and Translational Science Award and the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory – Coordinating Center and was co-PI of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Network.

He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, and has served on numerous IOM committees and as a member of the FDA Cardiorenal Advisory Panel and FDA Science Board’s Subcommittee on Science and Technology. Califf has also served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Library of Medicine, as well as on advisory committees for the National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Council of the National Institute on Aging. He remains an adjunct professor at Duke and Stanford University.

“Rob’s deep expertise and passionate commitment to breaking down research and data silos have been transformational in creating technical, scientific and regulatory alliances in life sciences and health care,” said C-Path President and COO Kristen Swingle. “The board and I look forward to working closely with Rob as we advance C-Path’s comprehensive approach to seeking solutions for unmet needs in the treatment of various diseases and conditions.”

Califf’s Board appointment begins immediately.

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