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    Orphan product designation requests climb in the US, remain steady in the EU

    The number of new requests for orphan drug designation in the United States increased 41% from 2019 to 2020, bringing the number of requests to 753 for 2020, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.   There was also a significant jump in rare pediatric disease designation requests, which rose 330% from 2019 to 2020, for a total of 284 requests in 2020. The agency received 20 humanitarian use device designation requests, similar to the number received in 2019...
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    FDA on Rare Disease Day: New initiatives and an upcoming conference

    On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a series of efforts and a day-long conference centered on addressing the unmet needs of patients with rare diseases. FDA leaders announced the initiatives in recognition of Rare Disease Day, observed on February 28.   A new request for applications (RFA) issued by FDA augments the agency’s Orphan Products Grants Program. The RFA is seeking natural history studies to address unmet needs in rare diseases, l...
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    Stakeholders call for regulatory clarity in rare disease research network

    Stakeholders weighing in on a proposed rare disease clinical trials network called for regulatory clarity, smart use of existing resources, and a move toward harmonized trial standards and assessments.   As part of the launch of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Rare Disease Cures Accelerator , the agency asked for stakeholder input on how FDA and other agencies can achieve a more cooperative approach in supporting the drug development pipeline for rare dise...
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    FDA officials update on orphan drugs, gene therapies at DIA

    Officials from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discussed the agency’s recent efforts to support the development of products to treat rare diseases during a session at DIA’s Global Annual Meeting on Wednesday.   Orphan and rare pediatric disease designations   While the number of products approved to treat rare diseases has increased over the last decade, the vast majority of rare diseases lack approved treatment options.   Janet Maynard, director of F...
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    FDA seeks input on rare disease clinical trials network

    To further the establishment of a rare disease clinical trials network, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking for input from the public and a broad array of stakeholders.   In a press release, the agency noted that it is “looking to provide a more cooperative approach” in supporting the drug development pipeline for rare diseases.   The call for information comes as the FDA is launching a Rare Disease Cures Accelerator . This accelerator will establi...
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    Regulatory Explainer: Everything You Need to Know About FDA’s Priority Review Vouchers

    Since 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a handful of special "priority review" vouchers (PRVs) which allow its recipient to expedite the review of any one of its new drug products. What are these vouchers, why is FDA issuing them and what benefit might they have for society? Find out in our latest Regulatory Explainer on the Priority Review Voucher system. Last updated on 25 February 2020 to include: Vifor Pharma said on 17 February that it p...
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    Have PRVs Incentivized New Rare or Neglected Disease Research? Experts Discuss

    The priority review voucher (PRV) programs, created by Congress with an eye to incentivizing the development of new rare pediatric and neglected tropical disease drugs, have so far rewarded a wide range of small and large biopharma companies and products, though whether PRVs have actually spurred new research remains a question. Andrew Robertson, head of regulatory science and policy at Sanofi, and Rachel Cohen, regional executive director for the Drugs for Neglect...
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    Rare Diseases: FDA Awards Grants for 21 Clinical, Natural History Studies

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday awarded $32 million in research grants to fund 15 clinical studies and six natural history studies for rare diseases. The grants are being funded through FDA's orphan products grants program , with $22 million going to the clinical studies and $9.8 million in combined funding from FDA and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences' (NCATS) Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program going to fund...
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    FDA Calls for End to Priority Review Vouchers as GAO Says Too Early to Gauge Effectiveness

    The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Wednesday in a new report that it’s still too early to assess whether the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) three-year-old pediatric priority review voucher (PRV) program has stimulated the development of drugs to treat or prevent rare pediatric diseases. The PRV program offers vouchers that companies can win for gaining approval of new rare pediatric treatments affecting fewer than 200,000 people, more than half o...
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    Expert Committee: FDA Should Allow Mitochondrial Replacement Trials Under Certain Conditions

    While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sits on the fence over whether to approve preclinical or clinical trials using mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRT) to help prevent the transmission of certain diseases passed from mother to child, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine came out with a new report on Wednesday detailing how it believes FDA should allow such trials and regulate them. Background ...
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    Health Advocacy Groups Call for Changes to Priority Review Voucher Program

    A group of health advocacy organizations are calling on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) to tighten requirements for obtaining priority review vouchers for drugs for tropical diseases. In a letter addressed to HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on Tuesday, seven organizations including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), Center for Global Health Policy, TB Alliance, Treatment Acti...
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    Public Health Groups Propose Global Drug Innovation Fund

    Two health advocacy groups, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) are urging public health authorities to create a global fund to tackle what they call "deadly gaps in innovation." Citing the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), emerging infectious diseases and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the two organizations say the pharmaceutical industry is failing to address certain public health challenges. Back...