Fine-Tuning Data Requirements
Kalyan R. Anumala, Ph.D., senior director of Therapeutic Proteins, suggests that the agency should only require Phase II and III trials where it establishes a need after reviewing a submission. He also said the agency should encourage new characterization methods rather than clinical trials.
Also calling for additional characterization methods is the only U.S. company marketing biosimilar drugs, Hospira. Its products include anemia treatment Retacrit in the EU and biosimilar filgrastim product Nivestim, sold in the EU and Australia for stimulating production of white blood cells in patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Samant Ramachandra, M.D., Ph.D., Hospira’s senior vp, R&D and regulatory and medical affairs and CSO, also urged FDA to account for reference product variability and clarify the required approach to show clinical immunogenicity assessment.
Dr. Ramachandra and James M. Roach, M.D., svp and CMO of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, urged FDA to permit the use of bridging data in return for allowing non-U.S. reference products. “This is critical if the goal is to implement a global development program that is feasible to conduct,” Dr. Roach added. Eli Lilly’s Gregory C. Davis, Ph.D., pressed FDA for more guidance on the type and extent of bridging data that would be permissible.
Abbott, by contrast, said data from studies involving a foreign comparator product cannot be considered pivotal if the foreign comparator is different from the U.S. reference product. FDA has stated that clinical comparisons with a non-U.S. licensed product do not provide an adequate basis to support interchangeability.
Jay P. Siegel, M.D., chief biotechnology officer and head of global regulatory affairs for Janssen Pharmaceutical, echoed many brand-name drug developers by urging FDA to maintain the draft guidance’s standard for interchangeability. Applicants would have to demonstrate biosimilarity and the ability of the biological product to produce the same clinical result as the reference product in any given patient.
If biosimilarity is established, it should also be extrapolated to pediatric populations, said Karl Heinz Emmert, Ph.D., managing director for Merckle Biotec, a Teva Group member. Dr. Emmert contended that FDA need not require clinical studies of pediatric populations with a biosimilar product. That differs from the thinking of Pfizer, which while supportive of extrapolations between populations within an indication, suggested an exception: diseases where pediatric pathophysiology differs from that of adults.
With regard to manufacturing concerns, Paul Eisenberg, an Amgen svp, argued in part: “Requiring the maintenance of biosimilarity over time would inhibit manufacturing and quality improvements and unduly burden industry without benefiting patients.” Mark McCamish, M.D., Ph.D., head of global biopharmaceutical development for Sandoz Biopharmaceuticals, disagreed.