Regulatory Affairs

QbD for Biologics: Learning from the Product Development and Realization (A-MAb) Case Study and the FDA OBP Pilot Program

    Cosponsored by CASSS (an international separation society) and the FDA, the 23rd CMC Strategy Forum was held in Bethesda, MD, on 19–20 July 2010. For the third time, this forum explored the topic of quality by design (QbD) for biologics. The first such forum was held in July 2007 and focused on establishing a general understanding of QbD terminology and concepts. In July 2008, the second discussed approaches for submission of QbD data and associated regulatory implications. Building…

Looking at the Recent FDA Biosimilar Guidelines

Small-molecule treatments are invaluable in providing symptomatic benefits for an array of illnesses. However, many serious conditions — ranging from cancer to autoimmune disorders — respond better to more sophisticated complex drugs such as therapeutic biologics and nonbiologic complex drugs (NBCDs). The latter are medicinal, nonbiological products in which the active substance is not a homomolecular structure, but rather consists of a number of different (closely related) structures that cannot be fully characterized. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)…

Spotting, Tracking, and Predicting Inspection Trends

    Compliant companies, to paraphrase Tolstoy, are all alike. Every noncompliant company seems to find its own way to fall short of compliance with good manufacturing practice (GMP) and come, as did the writer’s famous heroine Anna Karenina, to grief. One commonality of compliant firms is that most seem to have excellent self-auditing/self-inspection programs. Indeed, many inspectors say that a primary predictor of a compliant company is a rigorous self-inspection program. Such a program is appropriately focused, adequately resourced,…

Expansion of the Prior-User Rights Defense

A common reaction to some patents directed to manufacturing processes (especially of biotherapeutics) is “How did they get a patent for that when we’ve been doing the same thing for years?” But the number of patents covering biotherapeutic production processes is steadily increasing along with the realization that upstream and downstream processing events provide a potentially abundant source of so-called “second-generation” patent protection for biologics, especially those facing biosimilar competition. Although some groups are prolific patent filers claiming a wide…

Biopharmaceutical and Medical Device Compliance

Off-label marketing occurs when doctors prescribe a drug or device for a use that has not received FDA approval (1). Physicians have the unfettered right to prescribe the best drugs or devices for their patients, including approved drugs and devices for unapproved uses. Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, however, cannot promote their products for such uses — even if those are supported in medical literature. Companies cross the line when their sales representatives sell physicians on the idea of using…

Meeting Regulatory Challenges for Cell-Based Therapies

    Many companies follow a general rule when assembling regulatory packages for presenting new biologics: Accentuate the aspects of your new biologic that mimic approved therapies. For companies working on cell-based therapies, however, that is a challenging task. The industry lacks established models, and the current European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulatory definition of a cell-based therapy is simply “an advanced therapy medicinal product” (ATMP) (see EMA guidance box). Regulations for cell therapies cannot always be compared directly with those…

Current Issues in Assuring Virological Safety of Biopharmaceuticals

The weakest link in the chain is also the strongest. It can break the chain.— Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, Polish writer, poet and satirist (1906–1966) Biologicals ushered in a new era for treating debilitating and life-threatening illnesses. According to a Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) 2011 report, more than 900 biotech medicines and vaccines are in development that are targeting more than 100 diseases (1). Market researchers expect annual sales of biologics (now at about US$100 billion) to grow…

Biopharmaceutical and Medical Device Compliance

Almost every aspect of the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries raises regulatory compliance concerns. Heightened scrutiny is required across product lifecycles — from clinical trials to manufacturing, pricing, formulary placement, and promotional practices. Those areas (as well as patient privacy and adverse event reporting) require close attention to and compliance with healthcare laws, regulations, and guidelines. Part 1 of this two-part article describes statutes, regulations, and guidances applicable to the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries. Anti-Kickback and False Claim Laws…

An Industry Perspective on Quality By Design

The US FDA’s quality by design (QbD) initiative and associated ICH Q8, Q9, and Q10 guidance documents are increasingly embraced by the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry for ensuring consistent product quality and lower costs of development and manufacturing. One critical problem the industry faces involves understanding how to implement QbD and determine the benefit of such projects — which require the work of many groups across quality, manufacturing sciences, and engineering departments. Here we present the results from a survey of…

Ensuring Aseptic Processing Through Quality By Design

Assurance of sterility throughout drug manufacturing is paramount to patient safety. Drug products must be free of contamination from microbes, particulates, and chemicals. To that end, we see continued and increased regulatory scrutiny, with adoption of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) standards outside the United States and the European Union. To consistently make microbe-free products, drug manufacturers must implement robust, validated processes that include sterilizing filtration. Sterilizing-grade filtration is used in a number of…