Cell­tri­on re­ceives CRLs for Rit­ux­an, Her­ceptin biosim­i­lars

Cell­tri­on has re­ceived com­plete re­sponse let­ters (CRLs) from the FDA for two bi­o­log­ics li­cense ap­pli­ca­tions for rit­ux­imab and trastuzum­ab biosim­i­lars, a Cell­tri­on spokesman told Fo­cus on Thurs­day.

The CRLs fol­low an FDA warn­ing let­ter is­sued to Cell­tri­on in Jan­u­ary, which the spokesman said “was di­rect­ly re­lat­ed to the re­ceipt of the CRL. Cell­tri­on is mak­ing progress ad­dress­ing these con­cerns and is com­mit­ted to work­ing with the agency to ful­ly re­solve all out­stand­ing is­sues with the high­est pri­or­i­ty and ur­gency.”

The BLAs were sub­mit­ted in June 2017 for the pro­posed biosim­i­lar to Rit­ux­an (rit­ux­imab) and in Au­gust 2017 for a biosim­i­lar to Her­ceptin (trastuzum­ab).

The warn­ing let­ter fol­lowed an in­spec­tion of Cell­tri­on’s In­cheon, South Ko­rea-based man­u­fac­tur­ing site in May and June 2017 that re­sult­ed in a Form 483. FDA al­so re­cent­ly re­leased the 59-page, par­tial­ly redact­ed Es­tab­lish­ment In­spec­tion Re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to the warn­ing let­ter, FDA ob­served “mul­ti­ple poor asep­tic prac­tices” dur­ing the set­up and fill­ing of a batch of ster­ile drug prod­uct. The site man­u­fac­tures mul­ti­ple bi­o­log­ics.

In the EU, the Eu­ro­pean Med­i­cines Agency’s Com­mit­tee for Med­i­c­i­nal Prod­ucts for Hu­man Use last De­cem­ber is­sued a pos­i­tive opin­ion rec­om­mend­ing that Herzu­ma, the biosim­i­lar for trastuzum­ab, be grant­ed mar­ket­ing au­tho­riza­tion in the EU. Cell­tri­on’s biosim­i­lar for rit­ux­imab was ap­proved by the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion in Feb­ru­ary 2017 and has launched in the UK, Ger­many, Nether­lands, Spain and Ko­rea.

An­oth­er Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lar com­ing to EU in 2018

Mean­while, Ab­b­Vie and Bio­gen an­nounced ear­ly Thurs­day that they have set­tled lit­i­ga­tion and Bio­gen and Sam­sung Bioepis’ Hu­mi­ra (adal­i­mum­ab) biosim­i­lar, known as Im­ral­di, will come to mar­ket in the EU on 16 Oc­to­ber 2018.

Hu­mi­ra is cur­rent­ly the top sell­ing drug in the world, and two oth­er com­peti­tors from Boehringer In­gel­heim and Am­gen have al­so won au­tho­riza­tion in the EU.

Am­gen’s Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lar is ex­pect­ed to come to mar­ket at the same date as Im­ral­di in the EU, while in the US, Am­gen and Ab­b­Vie set­tled on 31 Jan­u­ary 2023 for a launch. Sam­sung, how­ev­er, said in the US, if ap­proved, its Hu­mi­ra biosim­i­lar will launch on 30 June 2023.


First pub­lished here. Reg­u­la­to­ry Fo­cus is the flag­ship on­line pub­li­ca­tion of the Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs Pro­fes­sion­als So­ci­ety (RAPS), the largest glob­al or­ga­ni­za­tion of and for those in­volved with the reg­u­la­tion of health­care and re­lat­ed prod­ucts, in­clud­ing med­ical de­vices, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, bi­o­log­ics and nu­tri­tion­al prod­ucts. Email news@raps.org for more in­for­ma­tion. Im­age: A Cell­tri­on man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty. CELL­TRI­ON

Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (Moderna via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: NI­AID and Mod­er­na spell out a 'ro­bust' im­mune re­sponse in PhI coro­n­avirus vac­cine test — but big ques­tions re­main to be an­swered

The NIAID and Moderna have spelled out positive Phase I safety and efficacy data for their Covid-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 — highlighting the first full, clear sketch of evidence that back-to-back jabs at the dose selected for Phase III routinely produced a swarm of antibodies to the virus that exceeded levels seen in convalescent patients — typically in multiples indicating a protective response.

Moderna execs say plainly that this first stage of research produced exactly the kind of efficacy they hoped to see in humans, with a manageable safety profile.

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Trans­port Sim­u­la­tion Test­ing for Your Ther­a­py is the Best Way to As­sure FDA Ex­pe­dit­ed Pro­gram Ap­proval

Modality Solutions is an ISO:9001-registered biopharmaceutical cold chain engineering firm with unique transport simulation capabilities that support accelerated regulatory approval for biologics and advanced therapeutic medicinal products (ATMP). Our expertise combines traditional validation engineering approaches with regulatory knowledge into a methodology tailored for the life sciences industry. We provide insight and execution for the challenges faced in your cold chain logistics network.

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Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D and lead­ing the fight against Covid-19? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' spe­cial re­port

One of the many inequalities the pandemic has laid bare is the gender imbalance in biomedical research. A paper examining Covid-19 research authorship wondered out loud: Where are the women?

It’s a question that echoes beyond our current times. In the biopharma world, not only are women under-represented in R&D roles (particularly at higher levels), their achievements and talents could also be undermined by stereotypes and norms of leadership styles. The problem is even more dire for women of color.

Jeff Albers, Blueprint CEO

Di­ag­nos­tic champ Roche buys its way in­to the RET ti­tle fight with Eli Lil­ly, pay­ing $775M in cash to Blue­print

When Roche spelled out its original $1 billion deal — $45 million of that upfront — with Blueprint to discover targeted therapies against immunokinases, the biotech partner’s RET program was still preclinical. Four years later, pralsetinib is on the cusp of potential approval and the Swiss pharma giant is putting in much more to get in on the commercial game.

Roche gains rights to co-develop and co-commercialize the drug, with sole marketing responsibility for places outside the US and China (where CStone has staked its claim).

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Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca R&D chief (AstraZeneca via YouTube)

A day af­ter Mod­er­na vac­cine re­sults, ru­mors swirl of pend­ing As­traZeneca da­ta

A day after Moderna and the NIH published much-anticipated data from their Phase I Covid-19 vaccine trial, attention is turning to AstraZeneca which, according to a UK report, is expected to publish its own early data tomorrow.

ITV’s Robert Peston reported that AstraZeneca will publish the Phase I data in The Lancet. 

AstraZeneca and Moderna represent the two most ambitious Covid-19 vaccine efforts, having set the quickest timelines for approval (though they were recently joined in that regard by the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership) and some of the loftiest goals in total doses. Yet there is even less known about AstraZeneca’s vaccine’s effect on humans than there was about Moderna’s before yesterday. Although, in a controversial move, Moderna released some statistics from its Phase I in May, AstraZeneca has yet to say anything about what it saw in its Phase I trial — a move consistent with the scientific convention to withhold data until it can be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

‘Plan­ning to vac­ci­nate every­one in the US,’ Mod­er­na out­lines ef­forts to sup­ply their Covid-19 vac­cine as man­u­fac­tur­ing ramps up ahead of PhI­II

Twelve days from the planned start of their Phase III pivotal trial, the executive crew at Moderna has set up the manufacturing base needed to begin production of the first 500,000 doses of their Covid-19 vaccine with plans to feed it into a global supply chain. But the initial batches will likely be ready in the US first, where company CEO Stéphane Bancel plans to be able to vaccinate everyone.

“We have started making commercial product at-risk, and will continue to do so every day and every week of the month,” Bancel told analysts during their morning call on the Phase I data just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Covid-19 roundup: Vac­cine by end of 2020? Ken Fra­zier warns hype do­ing 'grave dis­ser­vice'

When it comes to setting expectations about a Covid-19 vaccine, Ken Frazier does not mince words.

Over a month after first casting doubts on the aggressive 12- to 18-month timeframe championed by the US government and his biopharma peers, the Merck CEO again cautioned against any hype around a quick vaccine approval.

In a wide-ranging interview with Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley that touched other big topics such as race, Frazier emphasized that vaccines take a long time to develop. He would know: Out of the seven new vaccines introduced around the world in the past 25 years, four came from Merck.

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Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (Andrew Harnik/AP Images)

A top an­a­lyst turns the spot­light on Mod­er­na, fu­el­ing a fast-and-fu­ri­ous Street race over the fu­ture of mR­NA

Bioregnum Opinion Column by John Carroll

Four months ago, one of the favorite talking points on the biopharma social media wave length was whether Moderna shares $MRNA were priced right or were wildly inflated.

After all, said the naysayers, the company had never actually pushed a treatment to an approval. Did messenger RNA really work, coding cells to make a drug or a vaccine? And how about all that chatter about how ‘secretive’ they are, or were?

Now, as CEO Stéphane Bancel and the top execs push the company to the forefront of a frantic race to develop the first vaccine to fight against the reignited wildfire spread of Covid-19, all those questions have been magnified — along with the stock price.

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Ludwig Hantson, Alexion CEO

Why pay $4B for a steady di­et of dis­ap­point­ment? Porges turns thumbs down on Alex­ion’s M&A strat­e­gy, of­fers some point­ers

When Alexion announced recently that it was paying $1.4 billion to bag Portola and its underperforming Factor Xa inhibitor reversal agent, you could hear the head-scratching going on around virtual Wall Street.

Why was Alexion going down the discount lane for new products? And why something like this? Analysts have been urging Alexion to get serious about M&A for years if it was serious about diversifying the company beyond Soliris and its successor drug. But this wasn’t the kind of heavy-impact deal they were looking for.

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