FDA launches two centers to improve approval of drugs, devices

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday awarded $2 million to support the creation of research centers tasked with improving the way new medicines and medical devices are reviewed and evaluated.

The grants will help establish two regional Centers of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation at the University of Maryland and Georgetown University. The centers' researchers, according to the FDA, are tasked with assisting federal regulators in "driving innovation in medical product development as well as in advancing laboratory, population, behavioral and manufacturing sciences."

"These partnerships represent a critical, necessary and creative investment — one that will benefit not just FDA and academia, but also American consumers and industry," FDA Chief Scientist Jesse Goodman said in a statement announcing the awards. "The Centers of Excellence will create new scientific research, training and staff exchange opportunities for FDA and leading area institutions."

The centers are tied to the agency's strategic plan for "Advancing Regulatory Science at FDA," released in August.

The two first centers will be established in the Washington, D.C., area to allow for the greatest interaction between researchers and FDA staff. The agency is based in Silver Spring, Md.