BioCentury reports that in a speech to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council on Friday, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg provided an update on the status of two of the agency's regulatory initiatives -- the breakthrough drug and biosimilars pathways. Hamburg said the agency has received a total of 31 breakthrough therapy designation requests, nine of which have been granted and 10 denied. One request was withdrawn, and 11 are pending.
Breakthrough drug designation, which was created by the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, commits FDA to collaborate with a sponsor to enable expedited development and review of compounds for serious or life-threatening diseases that show substantial improvements over existing treatments in early trials. Hamburg said FDA is developing guidance to describe and explain the criteria for its expedited development and review programs, including breakthrough designation.
Additionally, Hamburg said the agency has not received any applications for a biosimilar or interchangeable biologic under the 351(k) pathway, which was signed into law in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. As of March 14, Hamburg said the agency had received 51 requests for meetings for 12 different reference products, with 38 initial meetings held with potential sponsors. She said FDA has received 15 INDs for biosimilar development programs.