On 22 February 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) announced that it was issuing a proposed rule to align the Agency’s current Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements for medical devices, codified at 21 C.F.R. Part 820 and known as the Quality System Regulation, with the international consensus standard ISO 13485:2016 (the ISO). This reflects a years-long effort by the Agency to better harmonise the U.S. requirements with that of many foreign regulators. For example, in the European Union, the ISO is listed in the EU legislation, meaning that a medical device that conforms to this standard is presumed to be in conformity with the EU regulatory requirements on quality management systems for medical devices. This harmonisation should, therefore, provide some consistency between jurisdictions and enable companies to streamline their processes between countries.

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After a public consultation last July, the EMA published its Reflection Paper on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Marketing Authorisation Holders (MAH) on 23 July 2021. The Paper aims to clarify the responsibilities of the MAH in the GMP guidelines and the applicable legislation. While it is not legally binding, the EMA expects competent authorities to use the Paper as guidance when performing inspections, and so MAHs should familiarise themselves with the document. In this blog we have summarised the key takeaways.
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On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the Agreement). This was the result of many months of detailed negotiation within an increasingly difficult political environment. The final Agreement does not cover all of the aspects about which life sciences companies have been concerned, and there are areas that will likely be the subject of further discussion during the implementation of the Agreement. However, many view the Agreement as being an important first step in the UK’s continuing relationship with the EU. We set out below a summary of the key aspects of the Agreement relevant to life sciences companies.

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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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