Illumina recently made a major addition to its board: Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The San Diego company has long sold DNA sequencers to researchers, but the announcement comes as the company pushes into hospitals, clinics and other medical settings.
“Illumina will benefit from Scott’s expertise in healthcare and public policy as we work to accelerate the adoption and impact of genomics into the standard of care in oncology, reproductive health and other clinical areas,” said Illumina CEO Francis deSouza in a statement.
His appointment took effect Feb. 4.
Gottlieb stepped down from the FDA last April, saying constant travel as part of the job kept him away from his family. While helming the agency for nearly two years he sought to limit e-cigarette sales, accelerate generic drug approvals and curb the opioid epidemic.
A spokesman for Gottlieb said he was unavailable for comment.
Gottlieb is now a special partner at the venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates and a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a thinktank. He’s also on the board of pharmaceutical Pfizer and health care company Aetion.
Gottlieb's proposals received bipartisan support during his FDA stint, but his decision to join Pfizer’s board three months after departing the agency drew some criticism. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren called the move “revolving door influence-peddling.” In a response at the time, Gottlieb said he had a productive relationship with Warren while at the FDA and would respond to her privately.
Other big names on Illumina’s board include Frances Arnold, who in 2018 shared in the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.