The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On January 9, 2020, also in recognition of National Biotechnology Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the launch of a unified website for biotechnology regulation. Streamlining information about the three agencies in charge of overseeing agriculture biotechnology products, this website comes, in part, to fulfill President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) on Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products. The unified website also describes the federal review process for certain biotechnology products and allows users to submit questions to USDA, FDA, and/or EPA. Aiming to improve customer service to innovators and developers, the three agencies also wish to assure Americans about the safe use of biotechnology innovations. According to USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Purdue, all Americans deserve transparency and science-based regulations that foster innovation, conserve resources, and protect public health. BRAG will supplement this notice with more information next week.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 15, 2019, Sarah Yim, M.D., acting director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, released a statement on FDA’s continued progress facilitating competition in the biologic marketplace with approval of its 25th biosimilar project. In her statement, Dr. Yim highlights FDA’s approval of one of nine new biosimilar products approved in 2019. Bringing the overall total of biosimilar approvals to 25, Dr. Yim states: “I’m pleased to see this progress and am confident that the market for these therapies will continue to grow.” Approved under FDA’s Biosimilar Product Development Program, the 25th biosimilar announced is one of 38 products that have been enrolled in the program. The program’s goal is to discuss development of proposed biosimilar products or interchangeable products, laying the foundation for ongoing competition in the marketplace.

Typically more complex than other drugs and developed through advanced science, biological products, commonly referred to as biologics, are generally made from natural or living sources, such as animal and plant cells, and microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast. Biologics and biosimilar products are highly similar to, and have no clinically meaningful differences from, existing FDA-approved biologic products called reference products. As part of FDA’s efforts to support these products, Dr. Yim also highlighted FDA’s work under the Biosimilars Action Plan. The work under this plan includes efforts to develop and implement new biosimilar-specific review templates and progress toward the development and validation of pharmacodynamic biomarkers tailored to biosimilar development. Part of these efforts involves FDA’s provision of scientific and regulatory clarity for the biosimilar development community, combined with communication and outreach education. Dr. Yim concludes: “The promise of biosimilar and interchangeable biological products in providing increased access to important therapies is great, and the FDA will continue to do all that we can to facilitate competition in this area.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 3, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a technical guidance for industry titled “Bioanalytical Methods Templates” is now available.  The technical specifications guidance provides ready-to-use templates for sponsors to submit summaries of bioanalytical methods used in clinical pharmacology studies that require pharmacokinetic concentration evaluation.  The templates provided are applicable to bioanalytical procedures such as chromatographic assays (CC) and ligand-binding assays (LBA) that quantitatively determine the levels of drugs and their metabolites and therapeutic proteins in biological matrices such as blood, serum, plasma, urine, and tissue such as skin.  The templates in this guidance can be used for new drug applications (NDA), biologics license applications (BLA), and supplements to these applications to provide information regarding bioanalytical methods for pharmacokinetic assessments.

Tags: FDA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on September 30, 2019, announced the availability of a draft guidance for industry (GFI) #171 titled “Demonstrating Bioequivalence for Soluble Powder Oral Dosage Form Products and Type A Medicated Articles Manufactured from Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Considered to be Soluble in Aqueous Media.” The draft GFI describes how EPA intends to evaluate requests for waiving the requirement for performing in vivo bioequivalence studies for animal drugs administered orally as soluble powders or as Type A medicated articles manufactured from active pharmaceutical ingredients considered to be soluble in aqueous media. EPA is accepting comments on the draft GFI until November 29, 2019, before it starts working on the final version of it.

Tags: FDA

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 19, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in the Federal Register that a proposed collection of information on the Review Transparency and Communication in Reviews of 351(k) Biologics License Applications in Biosimilars User Fee Act has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This information collection supports the review program under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which allows FDA to collect user fees for the review of human drug and biologics applications for fiscal years 2013 through 2021. OMB is now accepting comments on the collection of information until September 18, 2019.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 2, 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced via the Federal Register the rates for biosimilar user fees for FY 2020. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) authorizes FDA to assess and collect user fees for certain activities in connection with biosimilar biological product development; review of certain applications for approval of biosimilar biological products; and each biosimilar biological product approved in an application. The established fees will apply to the period from October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 22, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced via the Federal Register the availability of a draft guidance for industry titled “Development of Therapeutic Protein Biosimilars: Comparative Analytical Assessment and Other Quality-Related Considerations.” The draft guidance is a revision of the 2015 guidance titled “Quality Considerations in Demonstrating Biosimilarity of a Therapeutic Protein Product to a Reference Product.” It provides recommendations on the design and evaluation of comparative analytical studies that intend to demonstrate that a proposed therapeutic protein product is biosimilar to a reference product licensed under the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act). Additionally, the draft guidance makes recommendations to sponsors on the scientific and technical information for the chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) portion of a marketing application. Comments on the draft guidance are due on or prior to July 22, 2019.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 13, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued in final guidance designed to assist sponsors in demonstrating that a proposed biological product is interchangeable with a reference product for the purposes of submitting a marketing application or supplement. This would mean that an abbreviated licensure pathway would be created, where biological products shown to be biosimilar to or interchangeable with an FDA-licensed biological reference product may be submitted without intervention. The guidance focuses on therapeutic protein products, providing an overview of scientific considerations in showing interchangeability of a proposed therapeutic protein product with a reference product. It pertains to a series of guidance documents FDA is developing to implement the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009. This final guidance provides sponsors with more certainty on the development of these proposed interchangeable products. Its scope includes scientific considerations of:

  • The data and information needed to support a demonstration of interchangeability;
     
  • The design and analysis of a switching study or studies to support a demonstration of interchangeability;
     
  • The comparator product in a switching study or studies; and
     
  • The development of presentations, container closure systems, and delivery device constituent parts for proposed interchangeable products.

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

From July 23-24, 2019, the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) will be hosting the Introduction to Drug, Biologics, and Biosimilars Law and Regulation conference in Boston, MA. The conference will cover an overview of administrative agencies that impact these industries and how they interact with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It will also include sessions on the development of drug and biological products, FDA’s review and approval of marketing applications, biosimilars and generic drugs, manufacturing issues, and case studies, among other topics.

Tags: FDA, Biobased

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 2, 2019, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Legislation and International Affairs, Anna Abram, released a statement on the status of FDA’s Plant and Animal Biotechnology Innovation Action Plan (Action Plan). Focused on FDA’s risk-based regulatory framework, the Action Plan aims at securing confidence in the safety and performance of plant and animal-based products for consumers, patients, and U.S. trading partners. In his published statement, Dr. Gottlieb emphasizes FDA’s ongoing implementation of the Action Plan, particularly on intentional genomic alterations in animals. Using genetic engineering and genome editing technologies, these innovations are providing additional clarity about how FDA’s regulatory framework works and should continue to work. A key part of the Action Plan’s implementation involves FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Innovation Program, which provides sponsors with innovative products based on genomic alterations in animals to benefit from early feedback and guidance.
 
In the released statement, Abram further highlights the impacts of intentional genomic alterations in animals on human health. DNA editing not only benefits animals by halting animal-to-animal transmission of diseases, but also has the potential to benefit humans. According to Abram, FDA has already evaluated and approved several intentional genomic alterations in animals that produce drugs used to treat human diseases, advance the studies of new drugs, as well as human organ and tissue transplants.  The Commissioners state that by ensuring safety of intentional genomic alterations to animals and animal-derived foods, FDA will continue to evaluate the effectivity of these alterations based on the totality of evidence provided rather than from any one particular assessment or result.
 
On April 25, 2019, FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research will host a live webinar to discuss policy changes that may improve the Action Plan framework.


 
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