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Category Archives: Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology

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FDA and EMA Address Quality and Manufacturing Challenges for Breakthrough Therapies Undergoing Expedited Approval

On July 31, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) published a joint report on their efforts to support the development of and expedite access to breakthrough therapies that address unmet medical needs.  In addition to outlining the tools currently available to manufacturers seeking expedited approval of breakthrough

Will FDA be forced to implement a drug importation program?

Over a year ago, HHS Secretary Alex Azar requested that FDA establish a working group to explore how drug importation “could help address price hikes and supply disruptions.” The FDA working group was not assigned the task of developing a broad drug importation program. Instead, the working group’s remit was specifically limited to considering potential

FDA launches temporary “TRIP” program to help HCT/P sponsors gain regulatory clarity

Acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. recently announced that FDA is implementing a temporary program called the Tissue Reference Group Rapid Inquiry Program (“TRIP”), which will assist human cell, tissue, and cellular and tissue product (HCT/P) manufacturers, as well as stakeholders that market HCT/Ps, to “obtain a rapid, preliminary, informal, non-binding assessment from

FDA issues benefit-risk framework for assessing opioid drug applications, announces public meeting

Agency seeks input on “comparative advantage” requirement for new opioids Yesterday, as part of its ongoing efforts to combat the current opioid crisis, FDA published a draft guidance, “Opioid Analgesic Drugs: Considerations for Benefit-Risk Assessment Framework,” outlining the benefit-risk framework the Agency intends to use in assessing whether a new opioid drug application meets the

What comes out, must go back in: Court sides with FDA on “same surgical procedure” and “homologous use” definitions governing human cell and tissue products

FDA authority to crack down on illegally marketed stem cell treatments confirmed On Monday, a federal District Court in Florida issued a decisive blow against US Stem Cell Clinic, LLC, granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) motion for summary judgment, and stopping the clinic from offering its stem cell therapy to patients. The

FDA’s ‘Project Facilitate’ Pilot to Collect Metrics on Sponsor Expanded Access Denials

This morning, FDA announced it launched its new expanded access pilot called “Project Facilitate,” a concierge call center under the Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) to facilitate the Single Patient IND (SPI) request process for oncologists.  Under the new program, FDA staff will help guide physicians through the process of applying for expanded access by

FDA Chief of Staff: OTC reform remains “top priority” for FDA

Speaking Tuesday, May 21, at the Consumer Health Products Association Regulatory, Scientific, and Quality Conference, FDA Chief of Staff Lauren Silvis emphasized that over-the-counter (OTC) monograph reform remains a “top priority” for FDA.  Based on these comments, FDA is clearly not giving up on monograph reform: FDA has long engaged in this effort, and we will

FDA guidance may ease path to biosimilar interchangeability

On Friday, FDA published the final guidance, “Considerations in Demonstrating Interchangeability With a Reference Product,” which is intended to assist sponsors in demonstrating that a biosimilar product is interchangeable with a reference product.  Even as some of the details remain to be hashed out, the guidance makes clear FDA’s desire to minimize the burdens of

FDA Doubles Down on MUsT Studies for Sunscreens and Issues Final Guidance on Absorption Studies that Will Likely Be Needed for Continued Marketing

On May 10, 2019, FDA published a notice of availability for a final guidance document on Maximal Usage Trials (MUsT studies) for topically applied active ingredients being considered for OTC drug monographs, including sunscreens.  As FDA has previously explained, the guidance states that MUsT studies can identify the potential for the systemic exposure for a

FDA publishes final guidance on ANDA/505(b)(2) NDA pathways

On Thursday, FDA published the final guidance document, “Determining Whether to Submit an ANDA or a 505(b)(2) Application” that contains minor revisions to the October 2017 draft guidance.  The final guidance contains no significant substantive changes to the draft version, but here are a few interesting tidbits: FDA will respond to comments seeking clarification on

New FDA draft guidance on voluntary recalls highlights importance of recall initiation plans

On April 23, FDA issued draft guidance entitled “Initiation of Voluntary Recalls Under 21 CFR Part 7, Subpart C,” which aims to clarify how firms in a product distribution chain should prepare to facilitate timely initiation of a voluntary recall, respond to an indication of a problem with a distributed product, and initiate a voluntary

Poland: Impact of a no-deal Brexit scenario on biocidal products’ data changes, and the validity of parallel import licences for medicinal products

The President of the Polish Office for the Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices, and Biocidal Products issued two more Brexit related communiques.[1] The first Brexit related communique concerned changes to: data which was included within marketing permissions, data being made available on the market, and data concerning the use of biocidal products. The second

With the Statutory Deadline Approaching, FDA Issues a Proposed Sunscreens Rule

On February 26, FDA published the proposed rule, “Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use,” which describes the conditions under which Over-the-Counter (OTC) sunscreen monograph products are generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) and not misbranded.  Primarily, the proposed rule seeks additional information on sunscreen ingredients so that FDA can evaluate their GRASE status

Poland: New Medical Research Agency

On Monday, March 4, the President signed a bill on the establishment of a new institution, the Medical Research Agency (ABM). The new Agency will be a specialized body of experts who will work on innovation in Polish medicine, focusing on areas related to oncology, haematology and rare diseases. The activities of the Agency will

Poland: official position of the competent authority on consequences for medical devices in the event of a no-deal brexit

On 1 March 2019[1], the President of the Polish Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products issued yet another communique concerning consequences of Brexit, this time with respect to the medical devices. It is announced that in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, as from 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom

Poland: Post-registration changes required in case of no-deal Brexit

On 25 February 2019[1], the President of the Polish Office for the Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices, and Biocidal Products issued a communique concerning the necessary post-registration changes in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit. In the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, the President of the Office has recommended that companies immediately introduce post-registration

FDA’s Bendeka decision reverses approvals of Treanda generics

Yesterday, FDA released a letter stating how the agency intends to implement the scope of orphan drug exclusivity awarded to Eagle Pharmaceuticals’ Bendeka (bendamustine HCl) by the D.C. Circuit Court in Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Azar, No. 16-790, ECF No. 64 (D.D.C.) (Jun. 8, 2018).  At issue following the Eagle decision was whether the exclusivity

Pharmaceutical Sector remains under Scrutiny of EU Competition Enforcers

Pharmaceutical Sector remains under Scrutiny of EU Competition Enforcers
On 28 January 2019, the European Commission published its Report to the Council and Parliament regarding “Competition enforcement in the pharmaceutical sector (2009-2017)” (“Report”). The Report summarizes the impressive enforcement activity of EU competition law enforcers in the pharmaceutical sector in the last decade while emphasizing at the same time the scope for continued enforcement action.

Would you like an extra application with that? FDA mulls requiring dual applications for combination products

On Tuesday, FDA announced the availability of a draft guidance, “Principles of Premarket Pathways for Combination Products,” with high-level information on ways to bring combination products to market.  Although the draft guidance doesn’t break new ground, it provides some useful clarity; for example, it includes detailed illustrations of five circumstances when those pathways apply. Citing

FDA to consider patent listing, therapeutic equivalence, and other Orange Book issues; agency will issue draft guidance documents, seek public comment

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. recently announced four steps FDA will be taking to ensure that the Orange Book (FDA’s publication of Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations) provides the greatest benefit to patients and providers, and (perhaps in particular) generic drug developers.  The Commissioner’s announcement addresses several important issues, including patent listing standards

The EMA has published a Concept paper for a Guideline for the development of medicinal products containing allergens to treat rare allergic diseases

Introduction On 13 December 2018, the EMA published a “Concept paper on a Guideline for allergen products development in moderate to low-sized study populations”. Four EMA guidelines concerning medicinal products containing allergens are currently applicable. They provide guidance for the clinical development and quality control of medicinal products containing allergens. All of these guidelines start

Pharma Companies May Benefit from Proposed Patent Law Changes in China; Public Comment Invited

On January 4, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) released draft amendments to the Chinese Patent Law, proposing expanded and enhanced protections that may provide real benefits to companies that develop new drugs.  A potentially important condition to one of the key proposed changes specific to new drugs is that it would be available only for

Likely FDA Impact of the Government Shutdown: Regulatory Submission Reviews, Inspections, and Research Projects

The U.S. government shutdown that began December 22, 2018 affected only about a quarter of federal agencies, because most had already been funded for FY 2019.  Unfortunately, FDA is one of the agencies with at least some functions shut down, as was announced yesterday.  Among other things, FDA has furloughed 42% of its employees, according

Effects of Brexit on reimbursement decisions concerning medicinal products in Poland

The President of the Office for the Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices, and Biocidal Products (URPL) estimates that approximately 20% of all the 10,000 medicinal products registered in Poland will be affected by the effects of Brexit. Out of this number, according to media reports, new reimbursement decisions will need to be issued for