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

UP­DAT­ED: Mer­ck pulls Keytru­da in SCLC af­ter ac­cel­er­at­ed nod. Is the FDA get­ting tough on drug­mak­ers that don't hit their marks?

In what could be an early shot in the battle against drugmakers that whiff on confirmatory studies to support accelerated approvals, the FDA ordered Bristol Myers Squibb late last year to give up Opdivo’s approval in SCLC. Now, Merck is next on the firing line — are we seeing the FDA buckling down on post-marketing offenders?

Merck has withdrawn its marketing approval for PD-(L)1 inhibitor Keytruda in metastatic small cell lung cancer as part of what it describes as an “industry-wide evaluation” by the FDA of drugs that do not meet the post-marketing checkpoints on which their accelerated nods were based, the company said Monday.

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Bob Nelsen (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

With stars aligned and cash in re­serve, Bob Nelsen's Re­silience plans a makeover at 2 new fa­cil­i­ty ad­di­tions to its drug man­u­fac­tur­ing up­start

Bob Nelsen’s new, state-of-the-art drug manufacturing initiative is taking shape.

Just 3 months after gathering $800 million of launch money, a dream team board and a plan to shake up a field where he found too many bottlenecks and inefficiencies for the era of Covid-19, Resilience has snapped up a pair of facilities now in line for a retooling.

The company has acquired a 310,000-square-foot plant in Boston from Sanofi along with a 136,000-square-foot plant in Ontario to add to a network which CEO Rahul Singhvi says is just getting started on building his company’s operations up. The Sanofi deal comes with a contract to continue manufacturing one of its drugs.

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Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO (AP Images)

Pas­cal So­ri­ot cash­es in As­traZeneca’s chips on Mod­er­na for $1.2B cash in­jec­tion

While still working to prove its own Covid-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca has reportedly capitalized on the success of another.

The company has sold off its 7.7% stake in Moderna and turned it into $1.2 billion in cash, according to the Times, beefing up the reserves just as Pascal Soriot is wrapping up his $39 billion acquisition of Alexion and its rare disease pipeline.

AstraZeneca’s stock sale follows a similar move by Merck in December. But like its pharma brethren, the British giant is keeping its R&D collaborations with Moderna.

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Af­ter bail­ing on Covid-19 vac­cines, Mer­ck will team up with J&J to pro­duce its shot as part of un­usu­al Big Phar­ma pact

Merck took a big gamble when it opted to jump into the Covid-19 vaccine race late, and made an equally momentous decision to back out in late January. Now, looking to chip in on the effort, Merck reportedly agreed to team up with one of the companies that has already crossed the finish line.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to announce a partnership between drugmakers Merck and Johnson & Johnson to jointly produce J&J’s recombinant protein Covid-19 vaccine that received the FDA’s emergency use authorization Saturday, the Washington Post reported.

Ab­b­Vie tees up a biotech buy­out af­ter siz­ing up their Parkin­son's drug spun out of Ke­van Shokat's lab

AbbVie has teed up a small but intriguing biotech buyout after looking over the preclinical work it’s been doing in Parkinson’s disease.

The company is called Mitokinin, a Bay Area biotech spun out of the lab of UCSF’s Kevan Shokat, whose scientific explorations have formed the academic basis of a slew of startups in the biotech hub. One of Shokat’s PhD students in the lab, Nicholas Hertz, co-founded Mitokinin using their lab work on PINK1 suggesting that amping up its activity could play an important role in regulating the mitochondrial dysfunction contributing to Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis and progression.

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Paul Sekhri

The next big biotech su­per­star? Paul Sekhri has some thoughts on that

It occasionally occurs to Paul Sekhri that if they pull this off, his company will be on the front page of the New York Times and a lead story in just about every major news outlet on the planet. He tries not to dwell on it, though.

“I just want to be laser-focused on getting to that point,” Sekhri says, before acknowledging, “Yes, it absolutely crossed my mind.”

Sekhri, a longtime biopharma executive with tenures at Sanofi and Novartis, is now entering year three as CEO of eGenesis, the biotech that George Church protégé Luhan Yang founded to genetically alter pigs so that they can be used for organ transplants. He led them through one megaround and has just closed another, raising $125 million from 17 different investors to push the first-ever (humanized) pig to human transplants into the clinic.

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Fi­bro­Gen shares skid low­er as a sur­prise ad­comm rais­es risks on roxa OK

FibroGen will likely have to delay its US rollout for roxadustat once again.

In an unexpected move, the FDA is convening its Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee to review the NDA in an advisory committee meeting. The date is yet to be confirmed.

Just a few weeks ago, SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges predicted that the roxa approval could come ahead of the PDUFA date on March 20 — effusive despite already being let down once by the FDA’s extension of its review back in December. AstraZeneca, which is partnered with FibroGen on the chronic kidney disease-related anemia drug, disclosed regulators had requested further clarifying analyses of clinical data.

In­tro­duc­ing End­pointsF­DA+, our new pre­mi­um week­ly reg­u­la­to­ry news re­port led by Zachary Bren­nan

CRLs. 483s. CBER, CDER and RWE. For biopharma professionals, these acronyms command attention because of the fundamental role FDA plays in drug development. Now Endpoints is doubling down on regulatory coverage, and launching a weekly report focusing on developments out of White Oak, with analysis and insight into what it all means.

Coverage will be led by our new senior editor, Zachary Brennan. He joins Endpoints from POLITICO, where he covered pharma. Prior to that he was the managing editor for Regulatory Focus, a news publication from the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.

UP­DAT­ED: Feds clear the road for J&J to start de­liv­er­ing mil­lions of dos­es of their Covid-19 vac­cine — but frets linger about run­ner-up sta­tus

All the pieces needed to trigger a third wave of Covid-19 vaccine supply to start washing over the US fell neatly into place over the weekend.

After providing for a brief mime of regulatory judiciousness, the FDA stamped their emergency approval on J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine Saturday, adding to the Biden administration’s plan aimed at ending the pandemic in the near term — at least in the US. The CDC came through on Sunday with its stamp of approval and J&J is reportedly expected to start delivering vaccine sometime in the next few days.

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