FDA lists 205 mol­e­c­u­lar tar­gets for pe­di­atric can­cer re­search

To help with an­ti-can­cer drug de­vel­op­ment, the FDA has de­vel­oped two new lists of mol­e­c­u­lar tar­gets to guide sub­mis­sions for pe­di­atric study plans.

The two lists, post­ed Tues­day by the FDA’s On­col­o­gy Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence, are aimed at fos­ter­ing the de­vel­op­ment of new on­col­o­gy drugs or bi­o­log­ics for pe­di­atric pop­u­la­tions. They al­so ful­fill a com­mit­ment the agency made un­der the FDA Reau­tho­riza­tion Act of 2017 (FDARA).

Scott Got­tlieb

One list points to the mol­e­c­u­lar tar­gets that are like­ly to con­tribute to the growth or pro­gres­sion of at least one pe­di­atric can­cer, while the oth­er iden­ti­fies the tar­gets of new drugs cur­rent­ly in de­vel­op­ment that would be au­to­mat­i­cal­ly ex­empt­ed from pe­di­atric can­cer study re­quire­ments.

“Pe­di­atric can­cer drug de­vel­op­ment has lagged far be­hind de­vel­op­ment of can­cer drugs for adults,” FDA Com­mis­sion­er Scott Got­tlieb said Tues­day in a Twit­ter thread an­nounc­ing the lists.

The cre­ation of these lists is fur­ther in­tend­ed to har­ness the po­ten­tial of tu­mor ge­net­ic pro­fil­ing in pe­di­atrics as well as lever­age the amend­ments made by sec­tion 504 of FDARA to sec­tion 505B of the FD&C Act, which set forth new re­quire­ments on pe­di­atric drug de­vel­op­ment.

“Un­til the pas­sage of FDARA, sec­tion 505B of the FD&C Act has not typ­i­cal­ly been a use­ful mech­a­nism to re­quire the de­vel­op­ment of drugs for pe­di­atric can­cers since most of the on­col­o­gy drugs ap­proved for adults are used to treat can­cers that are very rarely or nev­er oc­cur in chil­dren,” the agency said. “There­fore, his­tor­i­cal­ly, drug spon­sors have re­quest­ed and ob­tained waivers for con­duct­ing the re­quired as­sess­ments of these drugs in pe­di­atric pa­tients.”

The 2017 leg­isla­tive changes ad­dressed this is­sue by nix­ing the FD&C Act’s or­phan drug des­ig­na­tion ex­emp­tions on pe­di­atric as­sess­ments. Un­der FDARA, con­duct­ing these pe­di­atric as­sess­ments are re­quired “even when the adult in­di­ca­tion has re­ceived an or­phan des­ig­na­tion, or when the adult in­di­ca­tion does not oc­cur, in the pe­di­atric pop­u­la­tion,” the FDA added.

The agency iden­ti­fied a to­tal of 205 can­di­date mol­e­c­u­lar tar­gets for the de­vel­op­ment of the new lists. Most of these mol­e­c­u­lar tar­gets (77) are clas­si­fied as “oth­ers,” fol­lowed by those that tar­get a gene ab­nor­mal­i­ty (62), a cell lin­eage de­ter­mi­nant (40) and the tu­mor mi­croen­vi­ron­ment of the im­mune sys­tem (21). On­ly five mol­e­c­u­lar tar­gets are list­ed as can­di­dates for au­to­mat­ic waivers.

The lists form part of a broad­er ef­fort at the FDA to in­cen­tivize pe­di­atric drug de­vel­op­ment. Oth­er re­cent ac­tions in the space in­clude the FDA’s adopt­ed ver­sion of an In­ter­na­tion­al Coun­cil for Har­mo­niza­tion ad­den­dum and 2017 guid­ance that pro­vides pol­i­cy clar­i­fi­ca­tions on or­phan des­ig­na­tion sta­tus for pe­di­atric sub­pop­u­la­tions of com­mon dis­eases.


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.

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