In the first part of his interview, Dr Jenkins shared with Biotech Strategy Blog the FDA perspective on what constitutes a breakthrough drug? Given he is one of the senior managers at the FDA and sits on the committee that decides whether to grant or deny a company’s breakthrough therapy request, his opinion counts.
In the second and final part of the interview, Dr Jenkins discusses the advantages and benefits of the Breakthrough Therapy designation, as well as some of the challenges the agency faces in administering it.
Receiving a breakthrough designation is no guarantee of FDA approval. Drisapersen (GSK/Prosena), a drug for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy failed a phase III trial in September, despite having received a breakthrough therapy designation in late June.
In this respect, the breakthrough therapy designation is no different from other expedited pathways such as accelerated approval, fast-track or priority review: you still have to generate clinical trial data from a registration trial that supports the initial promise shown.
What then, does the breakthrough therapy designation mean for cancer drug development? Subscribers can read below the second part of the interview with John Jenkins MD, Director, Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA:
The FDA approval earlier this week of ibrutinib (Imbruvica) for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), and the recent approval of GA101 / obinutuzumab (Gazyva), for previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is good news for patients.
The forthcoming annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in New Orleans (Dec 7 – 10, 2013) is set to be an exciting event with the launch of new products to treat blood cancers.
Both ibrutinib in MCL and obinutuzumab were granted “breakthrough therapy” designation (BTD) from the FDA. Over the past several months I have been researching what a BTD may mean for cancer drug development.
The catchy “breakthrough” title has given companies and the FDA a noticeable bonanza of good PR, but there’s been a paucity of critical analysis by the media. I have yet to see a convincing argument that that there was a compelling need for a new approval pathway for cancer drugs, or that innovative and breakthrough cancer drugs such as imatinib (Glivec/Gleevec) and crizotinib (Xalkori) could have got to market any faster.
One of the key FDA decision makers is John K. Jenkins, MD, Director, Office of New Drugs in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER); he’s Richard Pazdur’s boss. I had the privilege to conduct a phone interview with him over the summer.
In my first post from this interview, subscribers to Premium Content will obtain Dr Jenkins’ perspective on what constitutes a breakthrough? If you are an investor you want to try and predict what may be a “breakthrough” before it becomes one…