• Feature ArticlesFeature Articles

    Shaking Palsy, aka Parkinson's Disease, is Still a Mystery

    This article discusses disease etiology, history and symptoms of Parkinson's disease as well as ongoing research and new treatment options. Introduction There are hundreds of diseases named after a person. These are called "eponymous diseases," and a small sample includes Crohn's disease, Salmonellosis, Huntington's disease, Hodgkin's lymphoma, Lou Gehrig's disease, Tourette's syndrome and the well-known Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's Disease (PD). PD is one of...
  • Regulatory NewsRegulatory News

    Updated: House Passes GOP Tax Overhaul With Orphan Drug Tax Credit Repeal Included

    The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to reform the US tax code by a vote of 227 to 205, with all Democrats voting against it and all but 13 Republicans voting for it. The House-passed bill includes several provisions that would be attractive to the biopharma industry, though industry groups BIO and the National Organization of Rare Disorders took issue with a provision to repeal the orphan drug tax credit, which amounts to half of all qualified ...
  • Regulatory NewsRegulatory News

    EMA Backs Six Drugs, One Biosimilar for EU Approval

    The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Friday said that its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) is recommending six new drugs, a biosimilar and three generic medicines for EU approval. The six medicines the agency is recommending are: Dr. Falk Pharma's Jorveza (budesonide) to treat eosinophilic esophagitis, a rare inflammatory condition of the esophagus. Jorveza was granted an accelerated assessment and orphan designation; Merck Sharp & Dohme's Pr...
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    Senate Tax Plan Seeks to Reform, Rather Than Repeal, Orphan Drug Tax Credit

    The Senate’s tax plan, running counter to the House’s call to eliminate the orphan drug tax credit for research on drugs to treat rare diseases, seeks to modify the credit instead. The proposal would limit what level of expenses will qualify and limit qualified clinical expenses if they are related to the use of a drug which has previously been approved for diseases or conditions affecting more than 200,000 persons in the US. The tax credit is part of a law from...
  • Regulatory NewsRegulatory News

    GOP Tax Reform Bill Would Repeal Orphan Drug Research Credits

    Republicans on Thursday rolled out their new tax reform bill, which among other provisions to lower taxes for Americans and businesses, proposes to repeal a provision that might cause the biopharma industry some concern. Under the House bill’s Subtitle E, section 3401 would repeal what amounts to half of the qualified clinical research costs for designated orphan drug products. Background Under the  Orphan Drug Act  of 1983, Congress sought to incentivize the d...
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    FDA Issues Disease-Specific Draft Guidance for Pediatric GERD

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday issued draft guidance detailing clinical considerations for drugmakers looking to develop products to treat pediatric gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). FDA says the draft is meant to be a starting point for discussions between the agency, drugmakers, academia and the public and sets out the agency's current thinking on potential study populations, endpoints and clinical pharmacology issues related to dosing. Sp...
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    FDA Analyst Counters Critiques of Orphan Drug Act

    While recent reports have claimed that drugmakers are manipulating the incentives provided by the Orphan Drug Act , Mike Lanthier, an operations research analyst at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says that in most cases, the act is working as intended. "My sense is that the Orphan Drug Act has been a successful catalyst for spurring rare disease development," Lanthier said at the National Organization for Rare Disorders' (NORD) Summit in Washington, DC on ...
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    Guest Editorial: Does Nutrition Have a Role in Disease Management?

    This editorial is meant to encourage discussion and thinking about the value of diet and nutrition in the management of disease and a regulatory framework that would be useful in the US to protect public health and provide benefit to individuals who live with chronic disease or an increased risk of such diseases. Introduction The current regulatory approach, with respect to food and nutrition, tends to categorize individuals as consumers or patients and yet these stat...
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    FDA Panel Votes Unanimously in Favor of Gene Therapy to Treat Rare Eye Disorder

    Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics took its gene therapy before the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee on Thursday and the panel voted 16 to 0 in favor of approving the subretinal injection, representing a major step forward for adeno-associated virus gene therapies. The therapy, known as Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec), has been granted priority review by FDA (the agency has until 12 January 2018 t...
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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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    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...
  • Regulatory NewsRegulatory News

    EMA and FDA Look to Facilitate Development of Gaucher Disease Treatments

    The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday released a new strategy document to aid in the development of new treatments for Gaucher disease, a rare lysosomal storage disorder. Given the limited number of patients worldwide with Gaucher disease, EMA and FDA put forth two possible approaches to better facilitate investigations of such products: Extrapolation across age groups within a single drug development program...