The 21st Century Cures Act passes through the House with resounding support

The 2st Century Cures Act, a nearly 1,000 page bill that details changes for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institute of Health (NIH), passed by a vote of 392-26 today in in the House of Representatives. A Senate vote could come as soon as next week.

Assuming the bill prevails in the Senate, the NIH will be the recipient of $4.8 billion in funding over the next 10 years, though money allocation must be reauthorized each year. This money is “earmarked for the three landmark big science initiatives of President Obama’s time in office: the cancer moonshot, the BRAIN Initiative, and the Precision Medicine Initiative” (FierceBiotech).

The passing vote of 392-26 came as a shock to some critics of the bill, “showing a bipartisan spirit that has been rare in recent years” (statnews.com). If the bill passes, it would also “gives states $1 billion to fight the opioid crisis, and deliver an additional $500 million to the FDA.”

FDA’s list of emerging tech requests topped by continuous manufacturing and sterile production innovations

The US FDA’s Emerging Technology program was established as a catalyst for new technologies to help modernize pharmaceutical development and manufacturing in areas where the FDA has limited review or inspection experience. Thomos O’Connor from the FDA’s Office of Pharmaceutical Quality explains that “this is technology with the potential to modernize the body of knowledge associated with pharmaceutical development to support more robust, predictable, and cost-effective processes or novel products… our vision is to have a maximally efficient, agile, flexible pharmaceutical manufacturing  sector that reliably produces high quality drugs without extensive regulatory oversight ” (in-PharmaTechnologist.com).

O’Connor is a member of the committee formed to facilitate the program and assist the industry with applications. The committee, known as the Emerging Technology Team (ETT), has already received 20 applications this year, doubling the number requested last year. The in-PharmaTechnologist article breaks down the submissions: continuous manufacturing technologies for drug product, substance, and biologics represent 30% of all requests, another 30% consists of the use of robotics and container closure systems for sterile injectable production, biotechnology processes and analysis represent 22%, and the final 17% include other areas of innovation such as new dosage forms and 3D printing.

What implications, if any, do these numbers say about the future of the life sciences industry? One could look at the breakdown as a compass for where future demand (and funding) will be. Though continuous manufacturing and robotic/container closure technologies led the way with a majority share of submissions, the numbers represent a fairly even and robust spread of emerging technologies. If your firm is looking to participate in the Emerging Technology program and need guidance with your IND, NDA, ANDA, or BLA application, our dedicated team of experts at Pearl Pathways is here to help.

FDA Halts Finalization of Lab-Developed Test Draft Guidance

Last Friday, the FDA halted the finalization of guidance that would have changed the way lab-developed tests (LDTs) are regulated. The reason? The presidential election. The current administration now enters its waning hours and the FDA decided to suspend guidance until the new regime takes office.

As RAPS reported, the press office for the FDA, Tara Goodin, defended this position because the “FDA believes that patients and health care providers need accurate, reliable, and clinically valid tests to make good health care decisions – inaccurate or false tests results can harm individual patients. We have been working to develop a new oversight policy for laboratory developed tests… and realize just how important it is that we continue to work with stakeholders, our new Administration, and Congress to get our approach right. We plan to outline our view of an appropriate risk-based approach in the near future.”

The agency released draft guidelines two years ago outlining a risk-based framework for regulating LDTs that would be phased in over nine years. LDTs have historically been regulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. The FDA’s decision, though praised by some, creates uncertainty for the industry and may leave a lot of companies in limbo. To learn more about this topic, see our industry whitepaper. Need assistance navigating the regulatory guidance for IVDs or LDTs, contact us and our experts can help.

FDA awards $23 million in grants to Orphan drug development

On October 17th, FDA announced that over $23 million in grants will be given to 21 new clinical trial research grants for development work in new therapies/devices for rare diseases over the next four years.  The grants were awarded through the Orphan Products Clinical Trials Grants Program.

“We are proud of our 30-year track record of fostering and encouraging the development of safe and effective therapies for rare diseases through our clinical trials grant program,” said Gayatri R. Rao, M.D., J.D., director of FDA’s Office of Orphan Product Development, within the Office of Special Medical Programs. “The grants awarded this year will support much-needed research in 21 different rare diseases, many of which have little, or no, available treatment options.”

Take a look at the press release to see a list of the grant recipients and a description of the study. Need assistance in managing your orphan drug designation or regulatory filing? Contact Pearl Pathways for an experienced team in orphan products.

FDA wants your data…

Pharma groups use quality metrics to monitor their own quality and identify areas to improve.  FDA will soon be requesting this valuable data and making use of it – a revision to the FDA’s draft guidance on quality metrics is planned still for 2016.

FDA plans to use this data “…to help develop compliance and inspection policies and practices, such as risk-based inspection scheduling of drug manufacturers; to improve the Agency’s ability to predict, and therefore, possibly mitigate, future drug shortages; and to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to implement state-of-the-art, innovative quality management systems for pharmaceutical manufacturing.”

Check out this article where Zachary Brennan, RAPS, summarizes a list of the types of data the agency will be looking for.

 

UDI deadline extended for products with NHRIC and NDC codes

Unique Device Identifier (UDI) provision implementation is proving to be a large undertaking — a project involving many dependent tasks with multiple stakeholders including supply chain, pharmacies and payers.  “The UDI Rule, established in the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA), includes a provision that rescinds any NHRIC or NDC number assigned to a device.”  The extension to 2021 is being allowed to avoid possible disruption that could interfere with patient access to devices.  The extension was made based on feedback from industry — the guidance released on August 30th indicates that “FDA has revised the guidance to reflect the Agency’s intent not to enforce the prohibition against providing National Health Related Item Code (NHRIC) and National Drug Code (NDC) numbers on device labels and device packages, with respect to finished devices that are manufactured and labeled prior to September 24, 2021.  We expect the UDI labeling requirements will be fully implemented by September 24, 2021.  We also believe additional time is appropriate for stakeholders to adopt medical device reimbursement, supply chain, and procurement systems, which do not depend on having an NHRIC or NDC number on the device label.”  Zachary Brennan reports additional information on this topic in his informative article on RAPS.

Need help ensuring your company’s UDI compliance?  Contact Pearl Pathways to start the discussion of how we can help your team.

Common Electronic Submissions Gateway (CEGS) targeted by years’ end

Striving for greater alignment in regulatory approaches, both FDA and Health Canada are continuing work to put in place the Common Electronic Submissions Gateway (CEGS) to allow industry to submit simultaneously to both regulators.  Full functionality is expected to be completed at the end of 2016.  CEGS is one initiative of the Canada-US Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC).  RCC also has other Joint Action Plan Initiatives in developing common monographs for routine OTC drugs and teaming up to eliminate duplicate efforts on routine surveillance of GMP inspection reports.

“Increased collaboration between regulatory agencies in Canada and the U.S. will reduce unnecessary duplicative costs for manufacturers of pharmaceutical and therapeutic products, further streamline regulatory decision-making, and minimize the delays in bringing health and personal care products to the marketplace, thereby expanding consumer choice without compromising the safety, efficacy and quality of products,”  a joint action plan for the RCC says.

For more details and links, check out Zachary Brennan’s article in RAPS.

Newly released PDUFA VI goals letter from FDA

FDA released its “goals letter”  on performance goals and procedures for the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) for 2018 – 2022.  This is important news about the human drug review program — both for industry and patients.  FDA is holding a public meeting on August 15; information can be found here,  and you can register here.

Take a look at Zachary Brennan’s detailed summary in his article on RAPS.  Brennan says the “goals letter” document tells how and where the FDA spends user fees from industry.  It also communicates deadlines for upcoming guidance documents and new projects, and provides new review times for new drug applications (NDA) and biologics license applications (BLA) and more.

Reminder of eCTD Deadlines Approaching

A reminder that Electronic Common Technical Document (eCTD) deadlines are approaching. All submissions to the FDA including NDA, ANDA, BLA and DMFs are required to be submitted in eCTD format beginning on May 5, 2017.  IND submissions are required to be submitted in eCTD format beginning on May 5, 2018.  FDA informs that submissions that do not meet the specifications in the eCTD guidance will not be filed or received.  Paper will no longer be accepted after the dates noted.

Pearl Pathways has an experienced team to help with your regulatory submission authoring, publishing, and eCTD filings. Contact us for a value added partner to assure no interruption in your regulatory filings.

Bill passed Senate that would add the Zika virus to FDA’s list for priority review vouchers

Last week, the US Senate added the Zika Virus to the priority review voucher (PRV) program for FDA.  It could be the 22nd tropical disease on the list if the bill passes in the House which seems likely. Zachery Brennan published a comprehensive article on this topic which shares a good history on the program.

While the Senate and Congress seem to be big fans of the PRV program, not all industry experts completely support this program which gives corporations who apply and earn the vouchers the ability to cut the FDA review period from 10 months to 6 months, or, they can sell them for hundreds of millions of dollars on the market.  FDA’s established opposition to the program is reviewed in an article earlier this month on www.raps.org .

Need help navigating which rare, neglected, and tropical diseases are eligible for PRVs?  Contact our staff, we can help.