June 2019 Slide of the Month

         The 52 NASs approved by all six authorities in 2014-2018 were analysed according to orphan designation status as well as company. Out of the 52 NASs, only 10 NASs received an orphan designation across all the authorities, which may be due to differences in criteria for obtaining the designation within each agency, as well as the differences in the indication submitted by the sponsor and eventually approved.

         For EMA, 17 of the NASs were designated as orphan, compared with 28 for FDA, 21 for PMDA, 22 for Swissmedic and 20 for TGA. Health Canada does not have an orphan policy, however, this analysis considers NASs  that were classified as orphan by either FDA, EMA or TGA and approved by Health Canada, with 29 NASs meeting such criteria.

         In general, the median submission gap for orphan NASs was longer compared with non-orphan NASs across all the authorities, which may be due to sponsor size. Indeed, the majority of orphan NASs were approved by non-top companies, highlighting the important role of smaller companies to drive innovation. On the other hand, the median approval timelines across all the agencies for orphan products were faster compared with non-orphans, which is likely due to the use of expedited pathways to prioritise the approval of such medicines.

Rodier C, Bujar M, McAuslane N, Liberti L. 2019. R&D Briefing 70: New drug approvals in six major authorities 2009 -2018: Focus on Facilitated Regulatory Pathways and Orphan Status. Centre for Innovation in Regulatory Science. London, UK.

For more trends and analysis, please download the full CIRS R&D Briefing 70: http://www.cirsci.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/CIRS-RD-Briefing-13052019_for-send-out.pdf

Definitions: New active substance (NAS): A chemical, biological, biotechnology or radiopharmaceutical substance that has not been previously available for therapeutic use in humans and is destined to be made available as a ‘prescription only medicine’, to be used for the cure, alleviation, treatment, prevention or in vivo diagnosis of diseases in humans.  Approval time: Time calculated from the date of submission to the date of approval by the agency (calendar days). This time includes agency and company time. Submission gap: Date of submission at the first regulatory agency to the date of regulatory submission to the target agency (calendar days). Top company: Pharmaceutical company with R&D spending>3 billion USD in 2017  (http://www.pharmexec.com/pharm-execs-top-50-companies-2017).