FDA issues important advice to make earliest stages of clinical drug development more efficient
January 18, 2006 — /MEDICAL INDUSTRY E-MAIL NEWS SERVICE(TM)/ — COSTA MESA, Calif. — The FDA has announced new steps to advance the earliest phases of clinical research in the development of innovative medical treatments. The FDA’s goal is to improve the process for bringing to market, safe and effective drugs for potentially serious and life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders.
In new FDA guidance documents released, Exploratory IND Studies, and INDs — Approaches to Complying with CGMP During Phase 1, the FDA lays out specific approaches for researchers who are planning to conduct very early clinical studies in people. The documents offer approaches for performing appropriate safety testing and producing small amounts of drugs safely.
In line with the aims of the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative to modernize the drug development process, these changes will enable US medical researchers to evaluate much more efficiently, the promise of scientific advances discovered in their labs, officials believe.
“Currently, 9 of 10 experimental drugs fail in clinical studies, because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people, based on lab and animal studies,” said DHHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. “These recommendations will help more researchers conduct earlier, more-informed studies of promising treatments, so patients have more rapid access to safer and more effective drugs.”
The Exploratory IND Studies guidance will facilitate very early exploratory scientific studies in people before the standard safety studies (phase 1) begin. Because only small amounts of drugs are used in these early studies, they represent fewer potential risks for people in these trials. In the final version of the guidance, Exploratory IND Studies, the FDA makes recommendations about safety testing, manufacturing and clinical approaches that can be used in these very early studies.
The guidance also explains how medical researchers can take full advantage of the flexibility built into existing regulations, in the amount of data needed when asking the FDA’s permission to proceed with such a study. This can enable a more rapid delivery of innovative products to patients.
“One of the biggest barriers research and academic institutions face is the ability to get discoveries made in the lab into clinical testing. The new Exploratory IND guidance emphasizes the flexibility available to researchers when conducting early clinical testing of these cutting-edge treatments,” said Andrew von Eschenbach MD, Acting FDA Commissioner. “As we enter the era of personalized medicine, these exploratory approaches enable scientists to take full advantage of new technologies to target the development of more individualized therapies.”
In related draft guidance, INDs — Approaches to Complying With CGMP During Phase 1, the FDA outlines a suggested approach to complying with current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements for drugs that are intended for use solely in phase 1 studies.
With this new guidance and an accompanying regulation, the FDA formally recognizes specific standards for the manufacture of small amounts of drug product for phase 1 studies — and formulating an approach to cGMP compliance that is appropriate for the particular stage of drug development.
“The problem is that researchers conducting very early studies were required to follow the same manufacturing procedures as those companies that mass produce products for broad scale distribution,” said Janet Woodcock MD, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Operations. “These requirements are so burdensome for early phase 1 studies, that many leading medical research institutions have not been able to conduct these studies of discoveries made in their labs. For the first time, medical researchers are getting specific advice from the FDA about how to safely prepare products for exploratory studies.”
The new FDA documents are part of the FDA’s commitment to modernize existing cGMP regulations to streamline clinical development, they note. These efforts are part of the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative, launched in March 2004. The goal of the Critical Path Initiative is to reduce the time and resources expended on candidate products that are unlikely to succeed, by creating new tools to distinguish earlier in the process, those candidates that hold promise.
DIRECT FINAL RULE: CURRENT GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICE REGULATION & INVESTIGATIONAL NEW DRUGS:
EXPLORATORY IND STUDIES:
FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE:
INDS — APPROACHES TO COMPLYING WITH CGMP DURING PHASE 1:
FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE:
BMN PRESS RELEASE
Contact: John Stone
Director of E-mail News Service Sales