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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 Finalizes Combination Product Classification Guidance

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday issued its final guidance on classifying combination products as drugs, biologics or medical devices. The guidance finalizes and combines two 2011 draft guidances, Classification of Products as Drugs and Devices & Additional Product Classification Issues and Interpretation of the Term 'Chemical Action' in the Definition of Device Under Section 201(h) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act , and details how F...
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    Protalex Wins $403K Grant from FDA Office of Orphan Products Development

    Clinical-stage biopharma Protalex, Inc. on Thursday said it has been awarded a $403,000 grant from the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) to support future clinical development activity of PRTX-100 as a treatment for immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). The grant is part of a larger program that will award $23 million in research grants for 21 clinical trials over the next four years to boost the development of rare dise...
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    FDA Plots Elimination of the Orphan Drug Designation Request Backlog

    With a flood of new orphan drug designation requests, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday released its new plan to eliminate the backlog of requests in 90 days and to respond to 100% of all new orphan drug designation requests within 90 days. In 2016, the Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) received 568 new requests for designation – more than double the number of requests received in 2012. According to FDA’s database of 4,174 orphan d...
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    FDA Commissioner Vows to Eliminate Backlog of Orphan Drug Designation Requests

    At a Senate hearing on President Donald Trump's FY2018 budget request for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Commissioner Scott Gottlieb vowed to eliminate the backlog of orphan drug designation requests and said he will soon release "modern and risk-based" tools for assessing new treatments, especially for rare diseases and conditions with no effective treatments. "Right now we have a backlog of about 200 orphan drug designation requests where we haven't respond...
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    European Commission and EMA Offer Guidance on Brexit for Pharma Companies

    As marketing authorisation holders (MAHs) based in the UK begin to form plans to transfer their marketing authorizations (MAs) to holders established in the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and European Commission on Wednesday released guidance to prepare industry for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The question and answer document is the first in a series of guidances and follows a notice sent earlier this month to ...
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    CBER Director Focuses on Flexibility to Advance Regenerative Medicines

    Peter Marks, director of the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) on Thursday said his office is equipped to support the development of cutting edge treatments, such as cell and gene therapies. Speaking at the Food and Drug Law Institute's annual conference, Marks said the 21st Century Cures Act added tools to FDA's regulatory arsenal, including the regenerative medicine advanced therapy (RMAT) designation to provi...
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    TGA to Move Forward With Orphan Drug Revamp

    Australia's pharmaceutical industry is "broadly supportive" of proposed changes to the country's orphan drug program, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) says. On Tuesday, TGA released feedback it received in response to a 2016 consultation on the proposed changes, which include raising the population threshold for rare diseases, taking the seriousness of the condition into account when making designations and requiring sponsors to demonstrate significant benefit ...
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    Humacyte Receives First of FDA’s Regenerative Medicine Designations

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday offered one of its first Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designations to Humacyte’s investigational human acellular vessel (HAV) Humacyl. “Being one of the first companies to receive the Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy Designation from the FDA is an honor and a testament to the significant potential for Humacyl to address a great unmet medical need for patients who are undergoing dialysis,” Ca...
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    Law Firm Challenges FDA on Combination Product Appeals

    Healthcare law firm Epstein Becker & Green (EBG) is calling on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve how it handles challenges to its designation decisions for combination products. In a citizen petition sent to FDA last week, the firm says that lengthy delays for such appeals negatively affects both product sponsors and patients by delaying the launch of new combination products. Background Combination products, or products that combine two or more diff...
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    Sen. Grassley Opens Inquiry Into Orphan Drug Act

    Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) on Friday confirmed to Focus that he is gathering more information and discussing with his staff and interested parties a possible inquiry into the Orphan Drug Act ’s abuses leading to high drug prices. “Based on the reporting from Kaiser Health News [KHN] about how the orphan drug provisions appear to be stretched beyond their original intent, and the strong consumer concern about high drug prices, I'm interested in learning whether...
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    FDA Begins Accepting Regenerative Therapy Applications for RAT Designation

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday unveiled a new designation category created as part of the 21st Century Cures Act to allow drugs to be eligible for designation as a regenerative advanced therapy (RAT). The stipulations for such a RAT designation include: “The drug is a regenerative medicine therapy, which is defined as a cell therapy, therapeutic tissue engineering product, human cell and tissue product, or any combination product using such the...