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 and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On March 4, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in collaboration with EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), launched a new initiative called “Feed Your Mind” to help consumers better understand genetically engineered (GE) foods. Consisting of science-based information, the initiative’s features include a wide range of resources designed to teach consumers, health care professionals, and students about what a genetically modified organism (GMO) is, how GMOs are created and grown, the types of crops that can be GE, and to address questions about the health and safety of GMOs. “Feed Your Mind” also includes an explanation of how GMOs are regulated in the United States. Materials available through the initiative include new web content, videos, graphics, fact sheets, and stories, which include historical information on GMOs in agriculture. The initiative is launching in phases, and FDA expects that more resources will become available later in 2020 and 2021, including professional learning series for dietitians and a supplemental science curriculum for high schools. According to the three agencies, the materials available are based on extensive formative research after input from stakeholders and experts in biotechnology, education, and communications.

Tags: FDA, USDA, GE

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On March 4, 2020, FDA announced that it has issued in final a guidance for industry titled “The ‘Deemed to be a License’ Provision of the BPCI Act: Questions and Answers,” which addresses FDA’s “transition” provision of the BPCI Act. Established in 2009, the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCI Act) deemed applications for an approved biological product under Section 505 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) to be a license for the biological product under Section 351 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) as of March 23, 2020. Aiming to make the BPCI Act implementation process smoother, FDA has published the guidance for industry as part of the “transition” provision of the Act. The transition of biological products currently regulated under the FD&C Act to the PHS Act will allow for the submission and approval of marketing applications for new biosimilar or interchangeable biological products. The guidance follows FDA’s recent issue of the new definition of the term “biological product,” announced on February 21, 2020, per Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) February 28, 2020, blog item.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On March 5, 2020, FDA opened a public docket for comments on its enhancement of the Purple Book, which is otherwise known as FDA’s “Database of FDA-Licensed Biological Products.” As reported in B&C’s biobased products blog on February 28, 2020, FDA is working to expand the Purple Book by transitioning from its current table list format to a searchable online database for all approved biosimilar products and their reference products. These upgrades will be released in multiple phases. FDA has now completed phase I, which consists of the full search functionality of the database. Subsequent phases will include the expansion of the number of FDA-licensed biological products included in the Purple Book online database until the final release, which will include information about all FDA-licensed biological products.

The first phase of the upgrade includes information about a product’s proprietary and proper names, the full product label, dosage form, route of administration, strength, and marketing status, among other information. Given its completion, FDA is now requesting comments from stakeholders until May 4, 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 21, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule to amend its regulation that defines “biological product.” The new definition incorporates changes made by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCI Act) and the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (FCA Act). Under the final rule, the statutory term “protein” is interpreted to mean any alpha amino acid polymer with a specific, defined sequence that is greater than 40 amino acids in size. Intended to clarify the statutory framework under which such products are regulated, the final rule will be effective on March 23, 2020.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 24, 2020, FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., announced that FDA is upgrading its Purple Book, which is otherwise known as its “Database of FDA-Licensed Biological Products.” According to Dr. Hahn, FDA is working to expand the Purple Book by transitioning from its current list format to a searchable online database for all approved biosimilar products and their reference products. An upgrade planned to be released in multiple phases, the full search functionality is the first step. Subsequent phases will include the expansion of the number of FDA-licensed biological products included in the Purple Book online database until the final release, which will include information about all FDA-licensed biological products. The aim is to grow the data set to include data and information about all Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) and Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) regulated products.

The first phase of the upgrade includes information about a product’s proprietary and proper names, the full product label, dosage form, route of administration, strength, and marketing status, among other information. FDA plans to open a public docket to gather feedback from stakeholders on the new database with its enhanced functionality. In the announcement, Dr. Hahn stated that “[t]his expansion and digitization of the Purple Book will make more information about FDA-licensed biological products more accessible, increasing transparency for patients, industry users and other stakeholders.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), will host a public workshop titled “FDA/FTC Workshop on a Competitive Marketplace for Biosimilars.” The focus of the workshop will be on FDA and FTC’s collaborative efforts to support appropriate adoption of biosimilars, deter anticompetitive behaviors in the biologic marketplace, and discourage false or misleading statements about biosimilars. The workshop will take place in Silver Spring, MD, and requires registration. Webcast attendance will also be available. A meeting agenda is expected approximately one week before the meeting. FDA and FTC are also inviting stakeholders to submit electronic or written comments in addition to input at the public workshop. Comments are due on or prior to April 9, 2020.


 

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

 
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