On 14 July 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on the safety and quality of substances of human origin (SoHO) intended for human application. When adopted, the proposed Regulation will repeal and replace the currently applicable Directive 2002/98/EC on blood (the Blood Directive) and Directive 2004/23/EC on tissues and cells (the Tissue and Cells Directive), with the aim of reforming and modernising the existing EU legislation. The proposal sets out requirements and standards for the safety and quality of blood, tissues, and cells (BTC), as well as other SoHOs, through a single instrument that will apply in all EU Member States in a (hopefully) harmonised manner.

This will be a major development for life sciences companies operating in the EU, including companies developing advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs, such as cell and gene therapies) manufactured from or using SoHOs. The Regulation will apply from donation to human application, unless the SoHOs are used in the manufacture of medicinal products or medical devices, in which case the Regulation will apply to donation, collection and testing of the substances only. A public consultation is open until 8 September 2022, and the proposal will also be discussed by the Council and the European Parliament. Once the final text is agreed and adopted, it will come into force, with the proposal setting out a 2-year or 3-year transition period depending on the provision.

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On 13 December 2019, the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) published a Questions and Answers document (“Q&A”) providing guidance on the conduct of comparability exercise for advanced therapy medicinal products (“ATMPs”). The Q&A addresses various regulatory questions that arise in situations in which companies developing or marketing ATMPs introduce changes to the manufacturing process and need to generate related comparability data.

Background

EMA’s experience suggests that changes to the manufacturing of ATMPs are “frequent” and even more so in the development of the medicinal product. These changes need, however, to be introduced in accordance with the Good Manufacturing Practices (“GMP”). Moreover, the changes may require a variation of the marketing authorisation for authorised ATMPs or substantial amendments to the clinical trial protocol for ATMPs used in clinical trials.

In addition, the changes to the manufacturing of the ATMP must be supported by the data generated in a comparability exercise. This exercise should focus on the characteristics of the ATMP prior and after the introduction of the manufacturing change. This is valid for both investigational ATMPs and authorised ATMPs.

The position of the EMA is that changes to the manufacturing of the ATMP should not undermine or impact adversely the quality, efficacy or safety of the medicinal product or the related risk-benefit balance. The objective of the comparability exercise is to facilitate the assessment and demonstration of this.

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On 16 October 2019, the European Commission published the Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice (GCP) specific to advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPS) covering gene therapies, cell therapies and tissue engineered products. These Guidelines are available at the website of the European Commission.

Background

The European Commission was legally required to adopt the GCP Guidelines specific to ATMPs (the Guidelines) by Regulation (EC) No 1394/2007 (ATMP Regulation) with the technical input from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The Guidelines were adopted after a period of public consultation with the targeted stakeholder consultation in the second half of 2018.

The Guidelines reflect the experience gained by the European Commission and the EMA in the field of ATMPs and in the assessment and authorisation of this type of medicinal products. Due to their complex nature, ATMPs present specific practical operational and regulatory challenges related to GCP compliance.

Continue Reading Latest Updates on Good Clinical Practice for Advanced Therapies in the EU

On 22 November 2017, the European Commission adopted new guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) specific to Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs). ATMP manufacturers must ensure compliance with these guidelines no later than 22 May 2018.

The guidelines seek to reflect the rapid technological and medical advancements being made in the field of ATMPs (i.e. gene therapies, somatic cell therapies and tissue engineered products), such as decentralised manufacturing for autologous products, automated production, outsourced reconstitution, and gene editing technologies such as CRISPR and immunomodulators. Currently, these new technologies must comply with the general GMP guidelines set out in Volume 4 of The rules governing medicinal products in the European Union. However, these products are often developed in an academic or hospital setting under quality systems different to those typically required for the manufacture of conventional medicinal products.


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