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FDA and EMA Forge Rare Disease Collaboration; Announcement Coincides with World Rare Disease Day 2010

Posted Feb 28 2010 6:11pm

In recognition of World Rare Disease Day 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced that they will collaborate together and now accept a single annual report from sponsors with an orphan drug designation for rare medical conditions. The joint announcement was made by Dr. Timothy Cote, director of FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development and Dr. Jordi Llinares, head of Orphan Medicines at the EMA and marks an important step forward towards increasing data sharing between the two agencies.

An ‘annual report’ for an orphan drug is information that is typically provided about the development of orphan medical products, including a review and status of ongoing clinical studies, a description of the investigation plan and anticipated or current problems in the process that may impact an orphan product designation.  The submission is voluntary and applies only to sponsors who have obtained an orphan designation status for their product from both the FDA and EMA. Each regulatory body will conduct their own review and assessment of the annual report to assure the information meets all the legal and scientific requirements of each agency.

By allowing a single annual report submission to both regulatory agencies, the paperwork process is streamlined and precious time is saved as organizations can focus their energies on moving drug development forward instead of duplicating paperwork efforts. The FDA and EMA plan to exchange the annual reports electronically through a secure portal starting Feb. 28, 2010.

Hopefully, we will see more of this type of collaboration in the future by both agencies.  I am looking into filing my Orphan Drug Application for Cyclodextrin with the EMA so I am happy to see the two agencies working more closely together.

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