There's a new Cop (Cha) in Town

  • by: |
  • 09/25/2015

A savvy move from FDA – choosing someone who understands quality from the other side of the proposition. Only the most recent way that FDA is working to redefine 3D quality and pharmacovigilance.

For more on OPQ and the FDA's Quality Revolution, see here.

Here’s the official announcement from Janet Woodcock:

CDER Staff:

I am pleased to announce that Michael (Mike) Kopcha (“cop-cha”), Ph.D., R.Ph., a globally-recognized expert in product innovation and development, has been selected as the permanent director of the Office of Pharmaceutical Quality (OPQ). He will join CDER in November pending ethics clearance.

Mike is a leader in the development of innovative solutions to resolve scientific, manufacturing, and commercialization issues worldwide – and in standardizing and harmonizing global processes. With more than 25 years of pharmaceutical industry experience, his areas of expertise include formulation and process development, process validation, technology transfer, off-shoring/outsourcing, and change management.

OPQ – with close to 1,000 employees – was stood up in January to carry out new processes and policies to provide better alignment among review, inspection, and research functions. As OPQ director, Mike will take over the reins from me in matters relating to pharmaceutical quality regulation. These include submission review, manufacturing facility assessment, and quality surveillance.

Mike recently served as vice president, and global research and development franchise head, for cough, cold, and respiratory products at Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. in New Jersey. He joined Novartis in 2008 as the global head for pharmaceutical and analytical development, later serving as global head for new technologies and product innovation, and vice president and global head for global product development.

At Novartis, Mike has led the creation of a global R&D vision and strategies to drive innovation for the cough, cold, and respiratory franchise – through development, sourcing, manufacturing, and supply. He restructured and reorganized global product development to provide for a category-focused, globalized organization, and is credited for the creation of a successful strategic off-shoring/outsourcing program to increase project capacity and efficiency.

Before joining Novartis, Mike served as vice president for pharmaceutical development at KV Pharmaceutical, Inc. in St. Louis, where he directed and managed analytical research and development, product development, process development and technology transfer, stability, drug delivery, project management, and external alliance. His experience also includes related roles with Schering-Plough, J&J, and Ivax.

Mike earned his doctorate and master’s degrees in pharmaceutical science, and a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He served as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers.   

Mike will lead OPQ in planning and implementing strategies to drive pharmaceutical quality, with a goal of providing for an efficient pharmaceutical manufacturing sector that reliably produces high-quality medicines without extensive regulatory oversight.

I’d like to thank OPQ Deputy Director Lawrence Yu for his tremendous leadership, guidance, and support as we worked to stand up OPQ, and for assuming many additional responsibilities during my period as acting OPQ director.

Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Mike when he joins us later this fall. He will be a true asset to CDER and OPQ leadership. His broad knowledge and expertise in product development and technologies will allow him to play an essential role in our continued work to assure that the public has access to safe, effective, and high-quality medicines.

Janet Woodcock


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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