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Niche Disease: Epidermolysis Bullosa by Cheryl Scott Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of rare diseases that cause skin to blister easily. In severe cases, blisters may even be internal (e.g., in mucosal tissues or organs). More than 300 mutations have been identified in this condition. Most of the many types of EB are inherited, and the condition usually manifests in infants and young children; some patients don’t develop symptoms until adolescence or early adulthood. Exceptionally mild cases may remain…

A Risk-Based Approach to Supplier and Raw Materials Management

Ensuring a continuous supply of safe medicines is a key objective for the pharmaceutical industry and health authorities alike. A critical component to that end is maintaining a reliable supply of qualified raw materials (RMs) used in drug production. However, changes in suppliers, their processes, their providers, and consequently the materials they supply can occur (for a number of reasons) at any time during the life cycle of drug production. A product-supply organization therefore must be prepared to address such…

Special Report on Assays, Test Methods, and Comparability The CMC Strategy Forum Series, Part 4, Biosimilar Products: Scientific Principles, Challenges, and Opportunities

The Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Strategy Forum held on 22 January 2012 in San Francisco, CA, focused on selected scientific and regulatory aspects in the development of biosimilar products. Such products are an increasingly important area of interest for both the biopharmaceutical industry and its regulatory agencies. Biosimilars are highly complex, so scientists have been unable to demonstrate identity to a level typically possible for small molecules. Consequently, specific scientific and regulatory approaches are required to ensure the high…

Special Report on Assays, Test Methods, and Comparability The CMC Strategy Forum Series, Part 4, Demonstrating Comparability for Well-Characterized Biotechnology Products: Early Phase, Late Phase, and Postapproval

Challenges and approaches in demonstrating comparability of a well-characterized biotechnology product after manufacturing changes can be as varied and complex as the products themselves. Participants at the January 2005 CMC Strategy Forum sought to discuss and agree on common implementation strategies for different manufacturing change scenarios (1). Development of flexible, comprehensive approaches in strategy development addressed evaluation of critical product characteristics, appropriate process steps to test, numbers of lots and levels of testing required, and assessment of product comparability. The…

Elucidation on India and China: Powerhouses of Asia 2015 Reports Assess Their Pharmaceutical Markets

In the past year, CPhI Worldwide (a division of UBM EMEA) has released reports on both the Indian and Chinese pharmaceutical markets, findings of which were presented at CPhI India in Mumbai in early December 2014 and shortly after CPhI China in August 2015. India Looking Outward to Innovate The Indian report, CPhI India Pharmaceuticals 2015: Industry Explorations, was developed by CPhI in partnership with Global Business Reports (GBR) to provide a comprehensive analysis of the country’s pharmaceutical market. Overall, Indian companies…

Elucidation: The Medical Products Industry Must Resist the Pharmaphobes

I often ask people: “Do you think medical practice is better, worse, or the same compared with what it was when I graduated from medical school nearly 50 years ago?” The most common answer is “I guess it’s somewhat better,” although some say “Worse!” I explain that the unequivocal right answer is “hugely better!” For example, our average lifespan is now a decade longer, and we suffer far less from incapacitating diseases such as arthritis. Then I ask, “Why are…

Challenges in Implementing Quality By Design: An Industry Perspective

In the fall of 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final report entitled Pharmaceutical CGMPs for the 21st Century: A Risk-Based Approach (1). This publication set the groundwork for a prospective risk‑based approach to pharmaceutical product development. It was published on the heels of a November 2003 agreement between the FDA and the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) to develop an internationally harmonized plan for developing…

Special Report: A World of Difference — Biosimilars and Biobetters Offer Unique Benefits — and Risks

by John Otrompke, with Cheryl Scott and S. Anne Montgomery When the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the country’s first ever biosimilar on 6 March 2015, it had been a long time coming. After all, the European Union had approved the first biosimilar in 2006, and a number of others have followed in Europe since then. Still, the approval of biosimilar filgrastim, a recombinant colony-stimulating factor used to offset the complications of chemotherapy, was a welcome step…

Paying for Pricey Medications: Debt Financing Options Could Provide a Solution

In an era of US$1,000/dose medications, a new approach may be needed to finance an emerging breed of expensive but highly effective pharmaceuticals and vaccines, according to a new Rand Corporation analysis. In other industries, it is common for suppliers to encourage customer investment — particularly for costly capital purchases such as new automobiles and machinery — through approaches such as equipment leases or supplier-financed credit. The healthcare industry could learn from such approaches. For example, instead of paying up…

Can English Unite SE Asian Markets?

By 2016, the global pharmaceutical industry is expected to generate an estimated 30% of its total sales in emerging markets (1). After India and China, southeast countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand are especially attractive markets. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community (AEC) consists of 10 countries united through regional economic cooperation: Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, and Brunei. The ASEAN Community 2015 (AEC 2015) initiative aims to form a…