Regulatory Affairs

The Biosimilars Action Plan: Promoting Faster and More Extensive Adoption of Biosimilar Drugs

The pace with which biosimilar drugs have been adopted in the United States has frustrated (and displeased) policymakers (1). After passage of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) (2) as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (3), policymakers intended and expected significant reductions in expenditures for this class of biopharmaceuticals (4). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had predicted that the percentage of savings would be lower than that of the <90% reduction in costs for small-molecule…

eBook: Creating CMC Strategies for Pandemics and Beyond — Perspectives on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the biopharmaceutical industry’s need to create and implement chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) strategies that can expedite drug development during times of crisis. This bold topic was the premise of the 2021 CASSS Well-Characterized Biotechnology Products (WCBP) forum titled “Special Edition: Creating CMC Strategies for Pandemics and Beyond.” Held virtually on 25–28 January and 1–4 February 2021, the eight-day event addressed manifold considerations for SARS-CoV-2 virus prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Five hundred attendees…

Implementation of Established Conditions: Learnings from a “Sharing Science Solutions” Workshop

The International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) guideline Q12 (1) (step 4 sign-off in November 2019) is in the process of being implemented in a number of regulatory regions. The document provides additional frameworks for pharmaceutical life-cycle management. It is intended to support globally harmonized regulatory tools such as established conditions (ECs) and product life cycle management (PLCM) documents to facilitate postapproval changes to chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC). Although a harmonized framework…

Preparing for a Virtual Audit

Audits are a vital quality-management tool of the biopharmaceutical industry. Whether the objective is to verify supplier or partner qualifications, contribute to corrective and preventative actions (CAPA), or fulfill regulatory compliance requirements, conducting proactive auditing is key to successful operations. Over the past year, virtual audits —also known as remote or distance audits — have enabled biopharmaceutical companies to meet compliance and quality assurance demands despite COVID-19–related travel restrictions and social-distancing protocols. Notwithstanding the challenges of virtual audits, the benefits…

Untapped Potential of Tissue Engineering: The Three Obstacles Holding It Back

Regenerative medicine is the interdisciplinary field comprising tissue engineering, cell therapy, and gene therapy. These biopharmaceutical modalities, also referred to as advanced therapies, are growing rapidly, characterized by groundbreaking therapeutic advances that have the potential to change how healthcare providers deliver care. As Figure 1 shows, cell and gene therapies have gained traction over the past decade, as evidenced by large increases in investment and the number of marketed products. By contrast, tissue engineering investment and product commercialization has lagged…

Manufacture and Regulation of Cell, Gene, and Tissue Therapies: Part 2 — Regulatory Guidances

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and Japan’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) all offer support and guidance for developers of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). Some agencies have issued guidelines to help companies through different stages of product development — from research and development to marketing authorization and postauthorization activities. Such guidelines are updated regularly as more knowledge becomes available from the development and…

Emerging Strategies for Drug-Product Comparability and Process Validation: Part 2 — Validation, Legacy Products, and Lifecycle Management

This two-day CASSS CMC Strategy Forum explored many technical, practical, and regulatory facets of biological drug-product (DP) analytics, process validation, and comparability. Part 1 of this report summarized the discussions on drug-product analytics and comparability in BPI’s March 2021 issue (1). Here we report on day two presentations and discussions on validation, legacy products, and lifecycle management. Session Three: Drug-Product Validation The morning session focused on principles of process validation with examples of challenges specific to drug products. New Risk-Based…

The EU MDR Deadline Delay: What Does It Entail for Pharmaceutical Companies?

The life-sciences industry has been working hard to meet the deadline for compliance with the European Union’s Medical Device Regulation (EU MDR, 2017/745) (1). Doing so has been a challenging journey for many companies. Therefore, the full-year postponement of the final application date has been a welcome development, particularly in view of the new and extraordinary challenges stemming from the COVID-19 global health crisis. The extension has instigated other important changes, so it is critical that life-science businesses familiarize themselves…

COVID-19 As a Catalyst for Changing Orphan-Drug Regulations

A long-awaited (and for months withheld) evaluation of the European Union’s Orphan Drug Regulation (ODR) finally reached the interested public in August 2020 (1). Its publication during the public consultation of the European Commission’s “Pharmaceutical Strategy” was well planned because the latter discusses policies on access, availability, and affordability of new medicines. However, the ODR evaluation shows not only that the intentions behind the legislation have not been fulfilled, but also that its generous incentives (extension of market exclusivity and…

The Power of Industry Collaboration: Driving Harmonization of Regulatory Requirements

The biopharmaceutical industry continues to develop advanced manufacturing processes, systems, technologies, and facilities. Regulations play a significant role in assessing and approving marketing authorizations for drug products that are submitted for approval. The industry and regulators together should form a coordinated, streamlined process that delivers much-needed medicines around the world. Global Complications The complex global nature of biopharmaceuticals sometimes means that progress is not always as smooth as it could be. One main reason is that regulatory agencies often differ…