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FDA COMMISSIONER SEARCH: GENENTECH’s DAVID MARTIN, MD

Executive Summary

FDA COMMISSIONER SEARCH: GENENTECH's DAVID MARTIN, MD, senior VP for research and development, has been submitted to the list of potential candidates being collected by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health James Mason and a search committee being led by the department. Martin, who has been with Genentech since 1983, has announced he will be resigning from his position with the firm. The next meeting of the search committee has been scheduled for June 14. Martin has a strong academic background: prior to joining Genentech, he spent several years with the University of California, San Francisco. He was a professor in medicine and biochemistry in residence at the university from 1979-1982. From 1970-1975, he was chief of the medical genetics service, after joining the faculty in 1969. Prior to that, Martin spent three years (1966-1969) at the National Institutes of Health, as a research associate in the molecular biology lab at the National Institute of Arthritis. In connection with his resignation, Martin has received a commitment from Genentech to receive his current annual salary of $250,000 plus benefits through Dec. 31, unless he "accepts employment with or consults for any entity other than Genentech" prior to that date, according to a financial statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the acquisition of Genentech by Roche. The agreement also provides that Martin will act as a consultant to Genentech from "severance of his employment" through Dec. 31, 1991. With his expertise in biotechnology, Martin could help to satisfy the agency's goal of keeping pace with new developments in the field. He has been a member of the advisory board of the Forum on Drug Development and Regulation since 1987 to the present, was on the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee at NIH from 1981-1985, and has served on the University of California Biotechnology Research and Education Program advisory committee since 1986. Other names reportedly under consideration at HHS include FDA Office of Drug Evaluation I Director Robert Temple, MD, as well as Acting Commissioner James Benson. Names submitted in the early round of responses to HHS' request for nominations are Edward Burger, MD, director of the D.C.-based Institute of Health Policy Analysis and a professor of community and family medicine at Georgetown University, and David Kessler, MD, medical director of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine ("The Pink Sheet" April 16, T&G-1). Kessler is a former aide to Sen. Hatch (R-Utah) his candidacy is said to be supported by the influential ranking minority member of the Senate Labor & Human Resources Committee.
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