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    Congressional Support for Priority Review Vouchers Presses On Despite FDA Qualms

    Almost a decade into the experiment of offering lucrative priority review vouchers (PRVs) to help speed the development of treatments for neglected tropical and pediatric diseases and it seems Congress’s love of the vouchers has only just begun. And although that love is sure to be a good sign for companies looking to make hefty profits off of the vouchers on the open market (selling for upwards of $350 million), it’s a bad sign for the US Food and Drug Administration (...
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    Senate HELP Advances Bill to Reauthorize Pediatric PRV Program and Six Other Bills

    The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee on Wednesday advanced seven bills, including one that would reauthorize the rare pediatric priority review voucher (PRV) program through 2022, and one bill that would add the Zika virus to the tropical disease PRV program. The advancement of the bill sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) to extend the pediatric PRV program comes as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told the Government Accountability Office ...
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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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    Neurological Device Trials: FDA Offers Draft Guidance

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday released draft guidance to assist sponsors who intend to submit an investigational device exemption (IDE) to conduct clinical trials on medical devices targeting neurological disease progression, including for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or primary dystonia. “Medical devices intended to slow, stop, or reverse the effects of neurological disease face challenges with regard to collecting safety and efficacy d...
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    More Competition: Senator Proposes Priority Reviews for Some Generics, New Voucher Program

    In looking for ways to create more competition in the US pharmaceutical industry and drive down rising prices, a new Senate bill proposes to prioritize certain generic drug applications and to create a priority review voucher program to incentivize the development of new generics. Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-ME) bill, known as “A bill to increase competition in the pharmaceutical industry,” would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the US Food and Drug A...
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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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    Congress Considers Priority Review Vouchers for Medical Countermeasures

    Members of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee were briefed on recommendations at a hearing Friday for improving the nation's biodefence strategy against natural and man-made threats. The recommendations are particularly timely as legislators and public health officials scramble to mount a response to the Zika virus outbreak across Latin America and the Caribbean. Many of these recommendations come from the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on ...
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    US, EU & WHO Launch Efforts to Accelerate Zika R&D

    One week after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency in response to Zika-linked clusters of microcephaly, it and authorities in the US and EU are mobilizing to accelerate the development of treatments and diagnostics for the disease. Obama Calls for $1.8 Billion in Funding On Monday, the White House announced it will ask Congress for more than $1.8 billion to establish an emergency fund to combat the Zika virus in the US and abroad. N...
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    EMA Offers New Draft Guidance on Developing Alzheimer’s Treatments

    The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Monday released new draft guidance on the development of Alzheimer’s disease treatments that would allow treatments to be evaluated in earlier disease stages before dementia sets in. The new guidance comes as EMA recognizes that the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research and development “witnessed a recent paradigm shift in the diagnostic framework of AD which is now considered a continuum with a long-lasting presymptomatic phas...
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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...