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February 11, 2013

Early-Stage Alzheimer's Disease Drug Development Draft Guidance Issued by FDA

alheimers.jpgOn February 5, 2013, FDA announced the availability of Draft Guidance relating to the development of drugs for the treatment of early stage Alzheimer's disease. The Draft Guidance, titled, "Alzheimer's Disease: Developing Drugs for the Treatment of Early Stage Disease" addresses: (1) diagnostic criteria for early stage Alzheimer's disease; (2) appropriate clinical outcome measures; and (3) ways to demonstrate disease modification. Addressing these issues in early stage Alzheimer's disease poses unique difficulties, because patients may have little to no impairment of global functioning. FDA is seeking public comment on the Draft Guidance within sixty days.

The Draft Guidance provides FDA's current thinking on useful diagnostic criteria for early Alzheimer's disease. FDA cited useful research in developing diagnostic criteria, such as the research criteria for prodromal Alzheimer's disease and preclinical Alzheimer's disease. Specifically, FDA also cited as useful efforts by the research community to incorporate biomarkers into the diagnostic criteria. FDA concluded that, "we support the concept of enriching trial populations with patients most likely to progress to more overt dementia, using both clinical biomarker-based criteria." FDA also indicated, however, that FDA could not formally endorse any specific diagnostic framework, because more work was necessary to assess the specificity and sensitivity of these criteria, as well as the validation of these methodologies.

The Draft Guidance also provides FDA's current thinking on ways to establish clinical efficacy in trials involving patients suffering from early stage Alzheimer's disease. While FDA requires a co-primary outcome measure to demonstrate efficacy on both cognitive and functional levels for clinical trials on the dementia stage of Alzheimer's disease, in the draft guidance, FDA acknowledged that these endpoints may be impractical for patients suffering from early stage disease. Therefore, FDA indicated that for early stage disease "clear evidence of an effect on delaying cognitive impairment may provide sufficient evidence of effectiveness."

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January 23, 2013

Combination Product Final Rule and Guidance Issued to Streamline CGMP and Supplements

Thumbnail image for 3699948229_d7732f8df0_o.jpgYesterday, FDA issued two new items to help clarify combination products: 1) a Final Rule published in the Federal Register entitled, "Current Good Manufacturing Practice Requirements for Combination Products" and 2) a Draft Guidance entitled, "Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff:
Submissions for Postapproval Modifications to a Combination Product Approved Under a BLA, NDA, or PMA", also announced in the Federal Register.

The Final Rule is intended to clarify which good manufacturing practice ("CGMP") requirements apply when drugs, devices, and biological products are combined to create combination products. The Rule also provides a mechanism that FDA describes as "transparent and streamlined regulatory framework" for companies to use when demonstrating compliance with CGMP requirements for "single-entity" and "co-packaged" combination products. "Single-entity" combination products are two or more regulated components, e.g., drug/device, biologic/device, drug/biologic/device, which are physically, chemically, or otherwise combined or mixed and produced as a single-entity. Two or more separate products packaged together in a single package or as a unit and comprised of two or more regulated products is a "co-packaged" combination product. The Final Rules started as a Draft Guidance announced on October 4, 2004 (69 FR 59239), entitled "Current Good Manufacturing Practices for Combination Products." Based on comments and FDA's own internal review, FDA decided that "rulemaking was warranted" and issued Proposed Rules on September 23, 2009 (74 FR 48423).

The concept behind the CGMP Rule is simple for parts that are separately manufactured and marketed: each of the constituent parts of a combination product are subject only to the CGMP regulations applicable to that part, e.g., drug, biologic, or device. The two categories of combination products mentioned above, however, "single-entity" and "co-packaged" are slightly different due to the possibility for overlapping CGMP requirements for the different regulated components. Companies have two basic options for these types of products: 1) demonstrate compliance with the specifics of all CGMPs to each of the parts, or 2) demonstrate compliance with the specifics of either the drug CGMPs at 21 C.F.R. Parts 210 and 211 or the quality system ("QS") regulation at 21 C.F.R. Part 820 rather than both, for drug/devices under certain conditions. For combination products including biologics, the specific regulations are 21 C.F.R. parts 600 through 680, and for product including any human cell, tissue, and cellular tissue-based products, the regulations are 21 C.F.R. Part 1271.

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January 4, 2013

Safety Reporting Requirements Explained -- More Targeted Reporting Emphasized

3699948229_d7732f8df0_o.jpgTowards the end of last year, FDA added two new final guidances related to the safety reporting requirements for investigational new drug exemptions ("INDs") and bioavailability and bioequivalence ("BA/BE") studies entitled: Guidance for Industry and Investigators: Safety Reporting Requirements for INDs and BA/BE Studies and Guidance for Industry and Investigators: Safety Reporting Requirements for INDs and BA/BE Studies-Small Entity Compliance Guide. These guidances are intended to explain final rules published on September 29, 2010 that amended the IND safety reporting requirements under 21 C.F.R. Part 312 and added safety reporting requirements for individuals conducting BA/BE studies under 21 C.F.R. Part 320. We blogged on that development then.

A key focus of the new regulations was to add clarifying definitions to certain terms, "adverse event", "suspected adverse reaction", "unexpected" adverse event or reaction, "serious" adverse event or reaction, and "life-threatening", as well as further define reporting requirements. According to the main Guidance (not the one for small entities), sponsors frequently took a broad reading of the phrase "associated with the use of the drug" in the context of the former 21 C.F.R. § 312.32(a), which stated, "there is a reasonable possibility that the experience may have been caused by the drug." With this broad reading, the Guidance continues, "sponsors frequently reported, as individual cases, serious adverse experiences for which there was little reason to believe that the drug caused the event." The Guidance includes three examples of overzealous reporting, including reporting adverse experiences that were manifestations of the underlying disease, common occurrences in the study population independent of drug exposure, or study endpoints. FDA described these types of reporting as a drain on agency resources and "uninformative when reported as single events (i.e., without a comparison of the incidence of the event in treated and untreated subjects), they do not contribute meaningfully to the developing safety profile of an investigational drug or to human subject protection."

Interestingly, this appears to be somewhat of a departure from how FDA had enforced its reporting regulations on clinical investigators. Shortly after I first joined FDA in the 1990s, I was involved in a clinical investigator disqualification proceeding that resulted in a clinical investor being disqualified from further clinical studies because, among other things, he had not timely or accurately reported certain adverse events. While the Presiding Officer took into account that many of the patients had underlying conditions prior to the experimental therapy, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research ("CDER's") approach appeared to focus on the need for the investigator to report all adverse event associated with the therapy. In this case, the therapy had to do with infusing a drug with a catheter to help dissolve gall bladder and common bile duct stones, which the CDER described as a drug/device. The investigator admitted that he had not immediately reported certain events that occurred as a result of the catheter insertion (most likely not due to the drug) or the patient's underlying conditions, because in his opinion, they were not associated with the drug therapy. At that time, CDER took the approach that the investigator's opinion was irrelevant, because the adverse events were at least temporally associated with the drug/device and therefore had to be timely reported.

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December 6, 2012

Electronic Clinical Source Data Draft Guidance Published by FDA

On November 19, 2012, FDA issued a draft Guidance entitled, "Electronic Source Data in Clinical Investigations." The Guidance recommends various procedures relating to the electronic capture of source data in clinical investigations in an effort to reduce errors, to provide real-time data access, and to maintain accurate records for inspection by study investigators and FDA.

Clinical Data Guidance

Source data includes all information found in original clinical investigation documents (or certified copies of original documents) and this information is used for the reconstruction and evaluation of clinical trials. Accurate transcription of source data is extremely important, and the Guidance discusses methods of identifying source data, creating easy identification methods for auditing, capturing source data, and reviewing and retaining the data. The Guidance discusses the identification of source data originators, the capture of source data, the creation of data element identifiers, and the investigator's duty to review and retain electronic data.

The Guidance focuses on data entered into electronic case report forms ("eCRFs"). An eCRF is an electronic record, created for all clinical study subjects, that is reported to the study sponsor as per the study protocol. eCRFs contain data elements that are entered into the system by data originators such as investigators, medical devices, and clinical investigation subjects. Data elements are the smallest units of observation made during a clinical investigation and they include observations such as weight, birth date, race, or body temperature. The Guidance recommends that each sponsor and investigator maintain a list of data originators (e.g., people and devices) authorized to enter data elements for each study protocol. These lists limit access to data entry by creating unique user names, passwords, and identifications and by setting time periods for when each data originator can enter data.

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October 18, 2012

European Biosimilars to Reference Non-European Biosimilars

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for dna.jpgWhenever an applicant wishes to register their follow-on medicinal product, be it a generic product or a biosimilar, the applicant has to include in their dossier a comparison between the newly-developed product with a previously-approved and registered medicine. For "standard" generic products evidence, such as the approved product's dosage form, strength, excipient and content can be obtained from published information and further "proof" is generated by such things as dissolution profiling and bioequivalence studies. However, there is always a question as to whether the comparison product (usually the originator's product) is the same internationally. For example, it is possible that the same active ingredient in the same dosage form could have been formulated differently from country to country, either as a result of differing timing of the drug's development and launch or on purpose to create artificial barriers, such that the follow on products will be more complex to develop. Of course, the difficulty of having what outwardly appears to be the same product, but inwardly is significantly different, creates potentially dangerous problems for both doctors and patients. Clearly, if a patient travels across borders and needs to refill their prescription, it could result in real problems, if the apparent same drug and dosage form act differently biologically.

Health authorities around the world now work much more closely together and confidential information about their registered and approved products can be passed between them, such that differences in formulations that affect bioavailability would be available to them and thus will be alert to possible issues. For a company making a follow-on product, however, this information is not available. As a result, companies wishing to make a generic product have to carry out extra studies as outlined above to investigate the differences from country to country and carry out bioequivalence studies against a local reference product.

Biological medicines are medicines that are made by or derived from a biological source. They can consist of relatively small molecules, such as human insulin or erythropoietin, or complex molecules, such as monoclonal antibodies. Biosimilar products are, thus, far more complex and need far more studies to show similarity, requiring a large number of clinical trials, as opposed to the bioequivalence studies that generic products undergo. Given the difficulty in developing, testing and registering new biological, it may well be that, unlike non-biological medicines, biological products may well be the same product internationally.

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August 31, 2012

Pediatric Inventory Consultation Begins for Europe's Medicines

Thumbnail image for pediatrics.jpgThe Pediatric Committee ("PDCO") of the European Medicines Agency ("EMA") is tasked with identifying the needs for children in a variety of therapeutic areas and aims to encourage the research and development of pediatric medicinal products. The first Inventory, which is now open for discussion and public consultation, covers medicines for cardiovascular diseases. The EMA points out that it will be releasing similar lists for other therapeutic areas for public consultation during 2012 and 2013.

According to the EMA, the Inventory aims to enable:

  • Companies to identify opportunities for business development;
  • The PDCO to judge the need for medicines and studies when assessing draft pediatric investigation plans, waivers and deferrals; and
  • Healthcare professionals and patients to have an information source available to support their decisions as to which medicines.

The Inventory is based on a report on the survey of all pediatric uses of medicinal products in Europe completed by the PDCO in December 2010.

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August 29, 2012

GDUFA Guidances and Public Meeting Announced

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for drugmoney.jpegOn August 27, FDA published a Federal Register notice announcing the availability of industry guidance for generic drug user fees entitled "Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2012: Questions and Answers" and "Self-Identification of Generic Drugs Facilities, Sites, and Organizations." Simultaneously with this notice, FDA also announced an upcoming public meeting on September 21, 2102 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to discuss FDA's implementation of the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2012 ("GDUFA"). Finally, on the same day, another related Federal Register Notice issued: "Notice of Opportunity to Withdraw Abbreviated New Drug Applications to Avoid Backlog Fee Obligations." Below is a snapshot of each of these items taken in turn.

GDUFA was signed into law on July 9, 2012 but the obligations arising therein begin on October 1, 2012. We have previously blogged on the genesis of GDUFA, when both the House and Senate passed GDUFA, for some background why and how we got here.

The GDUFA Q&A answers questions about the various types of fees (backlog fee, drug master file fee, generic drug submission fees (including a fee for active pharmaceutical ingredients ("APIs") not referenced in a drug master file), and facility fees for APIs and finished dosage forms ("FDFs")), self-identification of facilities, sites, and organizations, review of generic drug submissions, and inspections and compliance. For example, most immediately, backlog fees will be calculated based on the number of pending original abbreviated new drug applications ("ANDAs") at the start of October 1, 2012. As was mentioned in a recent conference discussing this topic, a recommendation was made for all generic applicants to "clean house" and make sure that they did not pay fees for any pending ANDAs that they were no longer pursuing. FDA explains in this Notice that in accordance with GDUFA, FDA will divide $50 million by the number of pending ANDAs pending on this day to arrive at an individual one-time backlog fee due for each pending ANDA. Applicants wishing to remove pending ANDAs from this list, however, must do so by written notification received by FDA on or before September 28, 2012. Failure to pay the backlog fee is further explained, including a public disclosure of the failure to pay, and FDA will not receive a new ANDA or supplement submitted by that applicant "or affiliate" until the fee is paid. The GDUFA Q&A also explains when the various fees will be collected and the effect of not paying those fees timely. For new ANDAs or supplements, feed need to be paid when due, e.g., for new ANDAs, within 20 calendar days of the date that FDA provides notification that failure to pay will result in the ANDA or supplement not being receive and, therefore, reviewed.

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July 6, 2012

Nanotechnology: User Fee Bill Increases Funding for FDA Studies

nanotechnology.bmpThe Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, otherwise known as the User Fee Bill, has passed through Congress and awaits the President's signature. This Bill, mostly known for implementing user fees for generic drug applications, also provides new programs to foster the study of nanomaterials in products regulated by FDA. Section 1126 of Title XI, Subsection C calls for the Secretary to "intensify and expand activities related to enhancing scientific knowledge regarding nanomaterials, ... to address issues relevant to the regulation of those products, including potential toxicology, the potential benefit of new therapies derived from nanotechnology, the effects of nanomaterials on biological systems, and the interaction of such nanomaterials with biological systems." This provision mirrors the Nanotechnology Regulatory Science Act of 2011 introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) last year, which stalled after its introduction in the Senate.

Nanomaterials utilize nanotechnology--manipulation of matter on the atomic and molecular scale. Nanomaterials, measured in billionths of a meter, range from 1- 100 nanometers (nm) and are used in a range of products, from paint and sunscreen to drugs and cosmetics. In 2010, the National Science Foundation estimated that nanotechnology-based products and manufacturing would add 2 million jobs and $1 trillion dollars in revenue to the world economy by 2015. These nanoproducts have different physical, chemical, and biological properties than conventionally-scaled materials, and some speculate that these properties may involve unknown risks to humans and our environment.

Written by Caroline Bercier

Other Posts By This Author

The importance of nanomaterials has been recognized for some time. President Clinton advocated nanotechnology research, and President George W. Bush increased funding for nanotechnology development in 2003 with the passage of The 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. However, this will be the first time that Congress has mandated that FDA study nanotechnology to evaluate the safety and toxicity of nanomaterials in consumer goods and products.

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June 6, 2012

Biosimilar Substitution Guidance Requested by Pharmacist Groups

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for dna.jpgOn May 31, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores ("NACDS") posted a press release announcing that NACDS, the American Pharmacists Association ("APhA"), and the National Community Pharmacists Organization ("NCPA") had filed a joint letter dated May 25, 2012 with FDA to help facilitate dispensing biosimilar products via pharmacies. The letter was filed in FDA's Docket No. FDA-2011-D-0618, which related to a one-day public hearing on May 11, 2012, where FDA heard comments on its three draft guidances released on May 9 and posted in The Federal Register several days later. We previously reported on the three guidances here.

In the letter, the pharmacist groups wrote:

Pharmacists will be greatly impacted by the decisions made on how the biosimilar pathway is implemented. Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals and recommending generic alternatives is a standard pharmacy practice. Allowing pharmacists to perform fully within their scope of practice by permitting automatic substitution of cost-effective biologic and specialty medications increases availability, thereby greatly benefitting the entire health care system and the patients it serves.

As part of their proposal, the pharmacist groups requested FDA to consider:

  • Biosimilar products should maintain the same individual nonproprietary names ("INNs") as their reference counterparts to help prevent confusion with no additional suffixes, as has been done for human growth hormone and insulin. For purposes of tracking products for adverse events or quality issues, systems should be retooled to utilize National Drug Code ("NDC")-type numbers.

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May 21, 2012

Biotechnology-Derived Pharmaceuticals Guidance Issued

DNA.jpgOn May 17, FDA's Centers for Drug Evaluation and Research and Biologics Evaluation and Research released an Addendum to Preclinical Safety Evaluation of Biotechnology-Derived Pharmaceuticals. Recognizing the need for greater harmony in the regulatory standards for biotechnology-derived pharmaceuticals among Europe, Japan, and the United States, FDA issued the original Preclinical Safety Evaluation of Biotechnology-Derived Pharmaceuticals Guidancein July 1997.

According to the original guidance, preclinical safety evaluations have three goals: (1) to identify an initial safe dose and subsequent dose escalation scheme in humans; (2) to identify potential target organs for toxicity and for the study of whether such toxicity is reversible; and (3) to identify safety parameters for clinical monitoring. That guidance set forth a basic framework for the preclinical safety evaluation of biotechnology-derived pharmaceuticals to "improve the quality and consistency of the preclinical safety data supporting the development of biopharmaceuticals."

The Addendum is meant to "complement, provide clarification on, and update" the original guidance. According to FDA, following the Addendum's guidance should "facilitate the timely conduct of clinical trials, reduce the use of animals . . . and reduce the use of other drug development resources." Specifically, the Addendum addresses the following topics: species selection, study design, immunogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and assessment of carcinogenic potential.

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May 8, 2012

Biosimilar Exclusivity / Trade Secret Concerns Raised from FDA's Biosimilar Draft Biosimilar Guidances

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for dna.jpg On February 9, 2012, FDA released draft guidances on biosimilars on scientific considerations, quality considerations, and general questions related to the new 351(k) approval pathway for biosimilars. One of the exclusivity provisions found in the 351(k) pathway provides for 12 years of innovator exclusivity. The duration of the innovator exclusivity was a contentious topic and debated fiercely during the development of biosimilar legislation. The 12-year term was viewed by the branded industry as a major victory.

Now, FDA's proposed approach to awarding 12 years of exclusivity for novel biologics and its protection of reference product trade secrets during the course of examining a biosimilar application has ignited new concerns. Innovators are upset over the language in the draft guidances that proposes that biological license application ("BLA") sponsors should request 12 years of innovator marketing protection. Furthermore, innovator drug companies are dubious of the protection afforded by FDA in shielding innovators' trade secret information during FDA's communications with biosimilar sponsors during the evaluation process.

The draft guidance states that an applicant:

[M]ay include in its BLA submission a request for reference product exclusivity under section 361(k)(7) of the [Public Health Service] Act, and FDA will consider the applicant's assertions regarding the eligibility of its proposed product for exclusivity. At this time, FDA suggests that an applicant's request for reference product exclusivity specifically describe how the proposed product meets the statutory requirements in section 351(k)(7) of the PHS Act, and include adequate data and information to support the request.

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May 7, 2012

Biosimilar Interchagebility Slated to Be a Hot Topic for Upcoming FDA Public Meeting this Week

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for dna.jpgOn May 11, 2012, a public meeting is planned where FDA will discuss its recent draft guidances on biosimilars, which we previously discussed here. One area of particular concern that may be addressed is the lack of detail or insight the guidances provide on how FDA plans to make interchangeability determinations. What little the guidances currently say on the issue has been met with disapproval from various sectors of the pharmaceutical industry that believe FDA's approach is too conservative.

The draft guidances indicate that FDA is currently still evaluating the data that would be needed to support a finding that a biosimilar product is interchangeable. Specifically, one guidance states that "at this time, it would be difficult as a scientific matter for a prospective biosimilar applicant to establish interchangeability in an original 351(k) application given the statutory standard for interchangeability and the sequential nature of that assessment. FDA is continuing to consider the type of information sufficient to enable FDA to determine that a biological product is interchangeable with the reference product."

Furthermore, FDA has indicated that it is currently not making any comparisons of non-U.S. licensed products for purposes of interchangeability, stating "at this time, as a scientific matter, it is unlikely that clinical comparisons with a non-U.S.-licensed product would be an adequate basis to support the additional criteria required for a determination of interchangeability with the U.S.-licensed reference product." At the time the draft guidances were released, FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Medical Policy Director, Rachel Sherman, opined that a determination of interchangeability would likely not be possible without clinical data that demonstrates that switching back and forth between the reference product and the biosimilar does not diminish the safety or efficacy of the product. (The Pink Sheet, April 30, 2012).

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April 17, 2012

ViroPharma Sues FDA--Delivers on Promise to Sue FDA Over Vancomycin Citizen Petition Denial

by Andrew S. Wasson

Thumbnail image for FDA.jpegAs promised, ViroPharma filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, as well as a motion for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction against FDA. ViroPharma's lawsuit responds to FDA's decision to mostly deny ViroPharma's Citizen Petition with regard to its Vancocin® (vancomycin hydrochloride) product and the simultaneous approval of three generic vancomycin hydrochloride capsule products (Akorn, Strides Arcolabs Ltd., and Watson Pharmaceuticals) (see our blog here. ViroPharma previously sued FDA in September 2010, only to have the court dismiss ViroPharma's suit for a lack of standing.

In the present action, ViroPharma alleged that: (1) FDA violated the Section 706(A) and (D) of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") by adopting and applying in vitro dissolution testing as the bioequivalence method in approving the generic vancomycin products, and (2) FDA violated Section 706 of the APA and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 355(c)(3)(E)(iv) and (j)(5)(F)(iv)) by denying ViroPharma's request for the three-year period of regulatory exclusivity. ViroPharma alleged that FDA's actions have been arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.

In particular, ViroPharma characterized the use of in vivo testing as the "traditional" approach to testing for bioequivalence. ViroPharma stated that, "[e]xcept in very limited circumstances, regulations adopted by FDA to implement the statute requires 'bioequivalence' to be demonstrated through in vivo testing, i.e., clinical testing on humans." What is more, ViroPharma alleged that drugs that act locally in the gastrointestinal tract should be treated differently for bioequivalence standards (clinically efficacy and safety endpoints). According to ViroPharma, prior to 2006, FDA consistently held that it would require generic applicants to demonstrate bioequivalence through the use of in vivo studies with clinical endpoints.

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April 11, 2012

ViroPharma's Vancomycin Citizen Petition Denied - Intends to Sue FDA to "Ensure Safety of Patients" Despite Looming FTC Investigation

by Brian Malkin

FDA.jpegOn April 9, FDA simultaneously denied ViroPharma's Citizen Petition regarding bioequivalence and labeling requirements for generic Vancocin® capsules (vancomycin hydrochloride)
and approved three generic applications to Akorn, Strides Acrolabs Ltd. and Watson Pharmaceuticals. In an unprecedented 87-page response (with index), FDA responded to a myriad of arguments presented in ViroPharma's original Citizen Petition dated March 17, 2006, as well as its 20 additional supplements and 16 submissions to a public docket for FDA's Draft Vancomycin Bioequivalence Guidance.

FDA's response provides numerous insights into FDA's decision-making process for bioequivalence determinations in addition to FDA's affirmation of its draft generic Vancocin recommendation as "scientifically sound" and "the most accurate, sensitive, and reproducible approach for demonstrating bioequivalence for generic vancomycin capsules." For generic Vancocin® FDA will continue to permit in vitro dissolution data alone to demonstrate bioequivalence for generic Vancocin® capsule versions that contain the same active and inactive ingredients in the same amounts ("Q1/Q2"). Non-Q1/Q2 formulations must perform clinical endpoint studies in patients with Clostridium difficile Associated Diarrhea.

FDA's decision secondarily answered an issue raised in a later supplement regarding certain labeling changes to Vancocin® that was supported with clinical data, which FDA determined would not be eligible for 3 years of clinical data exclusivity because it is not a new indication. According to FDA, "old" antibiotics, such as vancomycin, may only obtain 3-year new data exclusivity for a significant new use or new indication, not for "refinements in labeling related to previously approved used for Old Antibiotics."

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March 30, 2012

Commercially Confidential Information and Personal Data Agreement from Europe

by Howard E. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

data_protection.jpgThe general public's expectation for transparency in the regulation and assessment of the safety of medicines is characterized by the number of Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") requests to FDA asking for detailed information regarding this data and the multitude of blog articles covering this subject matter. To some extent, public postings on FDA's website, particularly Drugs@FDA, has quelled the need for some FOIA requests. In Europe there is the same public pressure and an increasing trend for the release of information contained in the Marketing Authorization Applications ("MAAs") after they are granted. For example the release of clinical and safety data is regularly requested.

Feedback from initial European proposals found that in general the pharmaceutical industry had concerns regarding the release of contractual arrangements between companies, personal data of experts, and clinical and non-clinical data. Pharmaceutical companies also raised special concerns with regard to the disclosure of non-clinical data, while the release of clinical data was supported by most stakeholders.

The European Medicines Agency ("EMA") and the Heads of Medicines Agencies ("HMA") have now adopted a joint guidance document, providing, for the first time, a consistent Europe-wide approach to the identification of commercially-confidential information and personal data in a MAA. This "major step for transparency," will apply in the future to identify which parts of an application dossier can or cannot be released in response to requests throughout the regulatory authorities in the European Economic Area ("EEA"). This policy applies regardless of whether the product concerned was authorized using the centralized, mutual recognition or decentralized procedures.

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