Since starting my drug development journey as quality assurance manager in a laboratory that would later become part of Covance to now serving as the CEO, I’ve witnessed our industry’s notable shift to support more nimble drug development. From improved trial design to companion diagnostics and more predictive insights fueled by advanced informatics, it’s exciting to see bold ideas enable smarter decisions and speed the introduction of groundbreaking therapies.
Progress is evident in many areas—starting at early phases through market access—but one factor remains constant throughout the years: our hard-working employees continue to advance innovation. They are the reason we can deliver unique perspectives that shape new solutions and carry out the vision of a healthier future. Continue reading
With its measurable impact on patient survival, there’s no denying that immunotherapy is already causing momentum in ways that cancer is treated. Drug researchers and developers are identifying new candidates in their growing pipelines and exploring combinations of immunotherapies, while regulatory agencies are providing expedited review and approval of these therapies for new indications at an unprecedented rate.
With checkpoint inhibitors from ipilimumab (Yervoy®) to nivolumab (Opdivo®) to pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) to the most recently approved atezolizumab (TecentriqTM), each breakthrough has provided new insights on how the immune system can be activated and manipulated to fight a variety of cancers. Continue reading
The Development Landscape for Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis Q&A
Q&A with Claudia Filozof, MD, PhD, Senior Medical Director in the Phase II-IV Cardiovascular/Metabolic Group and Richard Williams, PhD, JD, Executive Strategist, Global Regulatory Affairs
Is this a good time to develop a NASH drug, and if so, why?
Claudia: Yes, it’s a very good time. There are multiple companies starting NASH development, and there is a huge unmet medical need with no treatment approved so far. Health authorities also have shown a lot of interest in supporting companies to speed up development. If you have the right compound, there are multiple advantages to starting a NASH program.
Richard: The cost to society will be enormous if we can’t treat this disease. I think most pharmaceutical companies, big and small, see this as a substantial unmet medical need. With this unmet medical need, regulatory agencies can grant conditional approval (accelerated approval in the US), where the drug is approved for marketing with the condition that the company later shows it has a clinical benefit based on clinical outcomes. Continue reading
The new FDA regulations for the Nutrition Facts labels and Supplement Facts labels went into effect this month. With a refreshed design reflecting updated information about nutrition science, the new label is intended to better inform consumers about their choices.
While manufacturers have two or up to three years to revise or correct their product labels, we’ve seen many proactive companies consider the impact of these regulations on their future ingredients, processes and claims.
To enter the rapidly growing mobile health space, companies must overcome the crucial hurdle of validation. This process demonstrates that the app – in combination with the underlying technology platform / device – performs comparably to traditional products on the market, ensuring that patients and providers can rely on the output to make appropriate medical decisions.
Mobile health apps offer functions ranging from data collection to running algorithms, and underlying all of those features is the need for a quality system. To show that their product is reliable, developers need to take a variety of measurements, confirm that data transmission and analysis work correctly and test the app on multiple devices. Continue reading
Among the regulatory pathways for small molecule drugs in the United States, the 505(b)(2) option occupies a middle ground. Intended for modifications of an existing treatment, it requires much more evidence than a generic but allows the sponsor to use data from a previous application. Companies can thus avoid unnecessarily repeating studies and shorten their development time.
At a recent Covance clinical seminar in Shanghai, attendees learned about the intricacies of 505(b)(2), the corresponding hybrid medicinal product pathway in the European Union and the differences from applications for biosimilars or generics. Developers in the Asia Pacific region are eager to better understand this topic because the Chinese pharmaceutical industry is developing rapidly with support from the government. “They view 505(b)(2) as a potentially faster way to market,” said Eric Lang, MD, Vice President and Global Head of Clinical Drug Development Leaders, Early Phase Development Solutions. To succeed, however, sponsors will need to consult with experts who can help them develop a regulatory strategy and consider market access issues as well. Continue reading
For many technology companies entering the mobile health space, meeting US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements may be unfamiliar territory. The guidelines can appear convoluted and contradictory at first glance, and some devices and/or applications (apps) fall into regulatory grey areas.
To make progress in this rapidly changing field, companies need to find a way to work within the regulations while encouraging creative development. Consulting with experts and the FDA, considering key design issues, taking precautionary quality measures and assessing global requirements will increase the chances that a company can bring a safe and successful mobile health device and/or app to market.
The Importance of Clinical Research Associate Training to Support Effective Trials
The clinical trial landscape is witnessing an increase in Phase III trials that average more than 3,500 patients. As more of these large trials continue to emerge, many contract research organizations (CROs) and sponsors are struggling to recruit qualified clinical research associates (CRAs) to support the influx of work.
Lack of experienced talent represents one of the main challenges facing the market, impacting sponsors and CROs alike with increased costs and extended timelines. Yet the urgent need for qualified CRAs will continue given that the demand in the field is projected to grow by 36.4% from 2012 to 2022 in the US, an issue also reflected worldwide.
As any drug developer knows, clinical trials generate a lot of raw and electronic data from multiple sources. Yet tracking progress and reviewing results from each separate database can be cumbersome in traditional environments. This “rear-view” mirror approach to monitoring doesn’t support preventative planning to mitigate future risks and can account for 20-30% of a trial’s costs.
Recognizing the opportunity increase efficiency and deliver information faster, Covance created Xcellerate® Monitoring, a platform that integrates clinical trial data to help sponsors proactively decrease the inherent risks associated with clinical trials.
At a recent clinical seminar in China, Dimitris Agrafiotis, PhD, Vice President, Chief Data Officer discussed how Xcellerate Monitoring tracks quality, patient safety and protocol compliance in clinical trials. Continue reading
Drug development in China is progressing quickly, due in part to shifting regulations, increased innovation and growing opportunities for global partnerships. However, making the most of market opportunities requires not only a focus on the intended end results but also careful, early phase planning. At a recent clinical seminar in China, a panel of Covance market access experts shared their thoughts on how to increase a product’s commercial potential.
Incorporating a business case
“In China, we discussed the theme of ‘beginning with the end in mind,’” said Eric Lang, MD, Vice President and Global Head of Clinical Development Leaders, Early Phase Development Solutions. “We find that a lot of biopharmaceuticals are focused more on the science of their treatment and don’t realize that they also need a strong business case to develop a product,” he said. Continue reading