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    House Looks to Reform Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday passed by voice vote an amendment (to an unrelated bill on hospital preparedness for dangerous threats) that would significantly change the priority review voucher (PRV) program for tropical diseases. Background Since 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued nine PRVs to reward companies for developing new drugs to treat rare pediatric and tropical diseases with a voucher that can be sold on the op...
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    Regulators, Industry Weigh in on Proposed EU Orphan Regulation Changes

    As the number of orphan drug approvals continues to rise in the EU, the European Commission is now considering feedback from European governments, regulators and industry on how changes to five aspects of the Orphan Regulation may further incentivize the development of drugs for rare diseases. To date, the commission has authorized 117 orphan medicines, 82% of which consist of new active substances, according to a new report .  And while the number of products authorize...
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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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    Sanofi Redeems $245M Priority Review Voucher for Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for review the New Drug Application (NDA) for Sanofi’s investigational type 2 diabetes treatment on Monday and granted the use of another Priority Review Voucher (PRV), which speeds up FDA’s decision by four months. In redeeming the voucher, Sanofi had to pay a $2.7 million fee in addition to the standard new drug filing fee of $2.4 million. Retrophin sold the PRV to Sanofi last May for one of the highest amounts eve...
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    Orphan Medicines in the EU: A 15-Year Review

    With the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Orphan Regulation in the EU, the European Commission notes in a new report that this landmark regulation has incentivized the development, approval and marketing of more than 100 rare disease treatments, or orphan drugs. According to the European Commission’s fourth inventory of orphan medicines, released Friday, somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 different rare diseases exist in the EU, impacting between 27 million and 36 ...
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    First-in-Class, Rare Disease Drug Approvals Dominated in 2015: A Breakdown from FDA

    Last year was a banner year for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in terms of new drug approvals, with many of the new drugs coming to market to help rare disease patients and offer new first-in-class options. The total of 45 approvals was well ahead of FDA’s average of about 28 novel approvals between 2006 and 2014, and 36% of those new approvals were for first-in-class drugs while almost half (47%) were to treat rare diseases, or ailments that impact 200,000 or...
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    FDA Faces Sensitive Challenge With Review of DMD Drug

    The blanketing of snow on the East Coast this past weekend prompted the postponement of a high-profile US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee hearing for a Duchene Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) drug that is stirring up public controversy and will eventually lead to an up or down decision testing FDA’s resilience to public pressure. The advisory committee meeting, which the Jett Foundation, a DMD advocacy group, said Tuesday will likely be rescheduled withi...
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    Senators Introduce Two Bills to Streamline FDA Reviews of Medical Devices

    Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) late Wednesday announced the introduction of two new bills that would further streamline the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for certain medical devices. One of the bills -- the Rare Device Innovation Act -- would expand the threshold by which FDA could approve medical devices that treat rare diseases, including ALS, cerebral palsy, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, mesothelioma and tuberculosis. Currently, FDA...
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    Harvard Professor Questions Success of FDA's Priority Review Voucher Program

    As the Senate debates whether to extend or make permanent the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) priority review voucher (PRV) program, a Harvard medicine professor says that so far, at least for tropical diseases, there's "little reliable evidence" that the program has spurred novel drug development. Background Since 2007, the FDA has issued seven PRVs (the most recent of which came earlier this month), which allow sponsors to speed the review of any one...
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    FDA Raises Fee Rate for Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Reviews for FY2016

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday announced that it would increase the rare pediatric disease priority review voucher fee rate for FY 2016 by about $200,000. The new rate -- $2,727,000 – is effective on 1 October and will remain in effect for the next year. FDA previously set the fee rates at $2,562,000 for FY 2015 and $2,325,000 for FY 2014. The new rate is based on FDA's estimate that the cost of a standard review for new molecular entity (NME) new dr...
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    Studies Raise New Concerns Over FDA's Expedited Approval Designations, Supplemental Indications

    An increasing number of newly-approved drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been associated with expedited development or review programs, though many of these approved drugs are not first in class and potentially less innovative, according to two new studies published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Background Under the standard regulatory review process, FDA has 10 months to review a potential new drug's safety and efficacy based on a company'...
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    Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduces Bill to Speed Development of Rare Disease Drugs

    A new bipartisan bill aims to help accelerate the development of targeted drugs to treat rare diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, some cancers and other genetic diseases. Although it's unclear how exactly the bill will aid in the development of targeted rare disease treatments, one of the cosponsors, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), said the bill would clarify the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) current authority to consider resear...