By Samantha Hoopes, PhD, RAC and Sheila Bello-Irizarry, PhD, RAC
Choosing the Appropriate New Drug Application and Corresponding Abbreviated Development Pathway
With the confirmation of a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in 2017, we have seen some changes in the regulatory environment with a new Drug Competition Action Plan and FDA draft guidances focused on introducing more competition into the drug market with the goal of increasing access to drugs that consumers need. These guidance documents are meant to provide information on abbreviated approval pathways and provide clarity on the regulatory pathway for complex generic drugs in order to speed approval allowing for more competition in the market place, which may impact pricing.
While it is important to understand how to navigate the complex generic drug approval pathway, it is first necessary to determine whether your drug product should be submitted as an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) for approval as a generic or if it requires submission of a 505(b)(2) new drug application. This particular issue is addressed in a new draft guidance, published 13 October 2017, “Determining Whether to Submit an ANDA or a 505(b)(2) Application.” The draft guidance defines an ANDA as an application for a duplicate (same with respect to their active ingredient[s], dosage form, route of administration, strength, previously approved conditions of use, and labeling [with certain exceptions]) of a previously approved drug product that relies on FDA’s findings that the previously approved drug product, the reference listed drug, is safe and effective. An ANDA may not be submitted if studies are necessary to establish the safety and effectiveness of the proposed product. A 505(b)(2) application contains full reports of safety and effectiveness, but one or more of the investigations relied upon by the applicant for approval were not conducted by or for the applicant and for which the applicant has not obtained a right of reference or use from the person by or for whom the investigations were conducted [Guidance for Industry: Applications Covered by Section 505(b)(2)].
The draft guidance outlines regulatory considerations for ANDA and 505(b)(2) applications as described below. FDA will generally refuse to file a 505(b)(2) application for a drug that is a duplicate of a listed drug and eligible for approval via an ANDA. An applicant may submit a suitability petition (21 CFR 314.93) to the FDA requesting permission to submit an ANDA, known as a petitioned ANDA, for a generic drug product that differs from the RLD in its dosage form, route of administration, strength or active ingredient (in a product with more than one active ingredient). The FDA will not approve a suitability petition if determined that safety and effectiveness of the proposed changes from the reference listed drug cannot be adequately evaluated without data from investigations that exceed what may be required for an ANDA or the petition is for a drug product for which a pharmaceutical equivalent has been approved in an NDA. The FDA will not accept an ANDA for filing for a product that differs from the reference listed drug until the suitability petition has been approved.
In some circumstances, an applicant may seek approval for multiple drug products containing the same active ingredient(s), known as bundling, when some of the products would qualify for approval under the 505(b)(2) pathway and some of the product would qualify for approval under the ANDA pathway. The FDA allows the applicant to submit one 505(b)(2) application for all such multiple drug products that are permitted to be bundled. An example referenced in the draft guidance where bundling into one 505(b)(2) submission would be allowed includes an applicant seeking approval of multiple strengths of a product where only some of which are listed in the Orange Book, as reference listed drugs.
Several draft guidance documents have recently focused on complex generic drug products. A draft guidance titled “Formal Meetings Between FDA and ANDA Applicants of Complex Products Under GDUFA” was issued in October 2017 to provide ANDA applicants information on preparing and submitting meeting requests and meeting materials for complex generic drug products. Complex products are defined as 1) complex active ingredients, complex formulations, complex routes of delivery, complex dosage forms, 2) complex drug-device combination products, or 3) other products where complexity or uncertainty concerning the approval pathway or possible alternative approach would benefit from early scientific engagement. The guidance describes 3 types of meetings for complex products that may be submitted as an ANDA: product development meetings, pre-submission meetings, and mid-review-cycle meetings. The draft guidance include details for how it is determined if meetings are granted and the review timeframe goals for FY2018 through FY2022.
A draft guidance “ANDAs for Certain Highly Purified Synthetic Peptide Drug Products That Refer to Listed Drugs of rDNA Origin” also issued in October 2017, focuses on helping applicants determine if certain complex products, synthetic peptides, that refer to a previously approved peptide drug product of recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) origin should be submitted as an ANDA. In the past, analytical methods have not been capable of adequately characterizing peptide products for submission in an ANDA; however with advances in scientific technology, FDA now considers it possible to demonstrate that the active ingredient in a proposed generic synthetic peptide is the same as the active ingredient in the reference listed drug of rDNA origin. While this guidance pertains to some specific synthetic peptides, Dr. Gottlieb addressed (FDA Voice, 02 October 2017) this general issue stating that “a further barrier to generic competition for certain complex drug products is the lack of established methods for showing the sameness of the active ingredient of a proposed generic drug to a brand-name drug for certain complex drugs” and “over the next year, FDA’s generic drug regulatory science program will work to identify gaps in the science and develop more tools, methods, and efficient alternatives to clinical endpoint testing, where feasible.” These efforts are meant to encourage and facilitate complex generic drug development. Additional guidance documents will continue to be released regarding specific types of complex drug products.
Additionally, a draft guidance released on 03 January 2018 “Good ANDA Submission Practices,” addresses common, recurring deficiencies seen in ANDAs that may lead to delay in approval. Common deficiencies include not correctly addressing patent and exclusivity information for the RLD, not providing adequate and properly prepared clinical summary data tables for bioequivalence studies, and not submitting draft container and carton labels with an accurate representation of the formatting that will be used for the final printed labels. In a statement from Dr. Gottlieb, “it currently takes on average about 4 cycles for an ANDA to reach approval – not necessarily because the product will not meet our standards, but sometimes because the application is missing the information necessary to demonstrate that it does” (Press Release 03 January 2017). This guidance as well as a new manual of policies and procedures (MAPP: Good Abbreviated New Drug Application Assessment Procedures) aim to help reduce the number of review cycles ANDAs undergo prior to approval.
These recently released draft guidance documents provide clarity on abbreviated approval pathways and highlight priorities of the FDA to increase competition in the marketplace with a focus on speeding generic approvals, including complex generic drug products.
About The Authors
Samantha Hoopes, PhD, RAC is an Integrated Product Development Associate at Rho involved in clinical operations management and regulatory submissions. Samantha has over 10 years of scientific writing and editing experience and has served as lead author on clinical and regulatory documents for product development programs for a variety of therapeutic areas.
Sheila Bello-Irizarry, PhD, RAC, Research Scientist, is actively involved in protocol development, orphan-drug designation applications, and regulatory submissions including INDs and NDAs/ BLAs. Her therapeutic area experience includes infectious diseases, immunology, vaccines, lung biology, musculoskeletal, and antibody-mediated therapy. She contributed to developing vaccine candidates against malaria and MRSA infections and to the understanding of inflammatory processes during lung fungal infections.