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    OPDP's Gray reflects on 2020's challenges, successes

    Looking back to 2020, the acting director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (FDA’s OPDP) highlighted the office’s major initiatives and successes.   Speaking in a “Conversations” interview hosted by FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Katie Gray, PharmD, spoke of inter-agency initiatives to encourage biosimilar competitiveness, how the pandemic changed the year’s course for OPDP, and future directions.   In th...
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    FDA offers new Q&A on biosimilars and interchangeable products

    In a draft questions and answers guidance issued Thursday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers insights into how it will handle certain aspects of submissions and labeling for interchangeable biosimilars.   When finalized, FDA will move the questions and answers from the draft guidance to its companion final questions and answers guidance on biosimilar development.   In the first of four questions and answers in the draft guidance, FDA explains how i...
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    FDA, Industry set priorities for BsUFA III

    At the kickoff meeting for the reauthorization process for the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA III) program, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and industry shared their wish lists for the third iteration of the agency’s biosimilars review program.   While FDA laid out four broad goals for the FY2023-2027 program, industry presented more specific proposals, including the creation of a new pre-development meeting and issuance of further guidance on interchangeab...
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    Testing requirements are likely slowing biosimilar entries in the US

    Biosimilars have been slow to enter the US market for complex reasons ranging from the manipulation of patent protections to brand-name drug rebates. Now a new analysis, published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings , suggests that a “high testing bar” for biosimilars to gain regulatory approval is another contributing factor. The analysis found that the median time from the start of a Phase I study to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was more than 5 ye...
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    FDA Approves 20th Biosimilar, 5th for Roche’s Herceptin

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday approved Amgen’s Kanjinti (trastuzumab-anns), which is the fifth biosimilar to be approved for Roche’s Herceptin (trastuzumab) and 20 th biosimilar overall. Although none of the five Herceptin biosimilars have launched in the US yet, the first launches are expected soon. Roche has settled three court cases with Pfizer, Mylan and Biocon, and Celltrion and Teva. Roche also said publicly that it expects competition s...
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    FDA Reverses Course, Decides Not to Add Suffixes to Older Biologics’ Nonproprietary Names

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided not to go back and rename biologics’ nonproprietary names with nonsense suffixes, as it once said it would, raising questions about the confusion that will likely come from a subset of biologics’ and biosimilars’ names containing suffixes while another subset of biologics’ names will not contain suffixes. Since 2015, FDA has been adding the meaningless suffixes to biosimilars' nonproprietary names as part of an effor...
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    EU Takes Another Step Towards Adopting SPC Waiver Proposal

    The European Union’s proposal to allow manufacturing waivers to supplementary protection certificates (SPC) is one step closer to adoption after EU ambassadors endorsed a compromise reached on 14 February with the European Parliament during a meeting of the Committee of the Permanent Representatives (Coreper) on Wednesday.   Now that the draft regulation has been agreed to, it will undergo a legal and linguistic review before being sent to the European Parliament and C...
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    Canada Steers Away From Using Suffixes in Biologics' Names

    Canada has decided to not use suffixes in the non-proprietary names of biologics or biosimilars, making the US the only country in the world to use such suffixes. “Following internal and external stakeholder consultations and analysis of related issues, Health Canada has decided that biologic drugs, including biosimilars, will be identified by their unique brand name and non-proprietary (common) name, without the addition of a product-specific suffix,” a notice to stake...
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    Drugmakers Debate Whether Parts of FDA’s Biosimilar Guidance are Unconstitutional

    Drugmakers and trade groups have raised questions with two US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance documents on biosimilars, including one explaining how FDA plans to transfer drugs previously approved under new drug applications (NDAs) to be biologic license applications (BLAs). On this so-called “Deemed to be a License” guidance , which explains the NDA to BLA transition, all but one of the biopharma companies and industry groups took issue with the agency’s a...
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    Sanofi Raises Public Health Questions on Use of Nonsense Suffixes With New Vaccines

    A lot of ink has been spilled on the controversial random suffixes that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now tagging on the end of the nonproprietary names of biologics and biosimilars. Back in January 2017, FDA finalized a guidance document spelling out how this four-letter, FDA-designated meaningless suffix would be attached at the end of biologics’ and biosimilars’ nonproprietary names. Later in 2017 and 2018, companies began to realize FDA was only u...
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    Shakeup at the Top of FDA’s Biosimilars Division

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday announced that Leah Christl, director of the Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars Staff (TBBS) in the Office of New Drugs (OND), has decided to leave FDA and will depart 22 February. Christl is moving to Amgen. Amgen told Focus Christl will be joining as executive director, global regulatory and R&D policy on 11 March. After joining FDA in 2003, Christl since 2010 has been at the forefront of biosimilar policy an...
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    House, Senate Hearings Address Pharmaceutical Prices

    The House Oversight Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday held hearings addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs, with both committees featuring mothers of insulin-dependent children, including one whose daughter died because of rationing due to the cost of insulin. Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and others stressed the need for an investigation into the rising cost of insulin. “We need to continue to have a strong research engine ...