In a previous blog post, we discussed the UK government’s proposed changes to the regulatory framework governing clinical trials. Marking the start of this legislative change is a new notification scheme for the lowest-risk clinical trials (the scheme), published on 12 October 2023. The scheme is based on the proposal set out in the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) consultation earlier this year, which was supported by 74% of respondents.

The scheme allows for the processing of eligible clinical trials by the MHRA in less than 14 days, instead of the statutory 30 days. The scheme currently only applies to clinical trial authorisation (CTA) applications for Phase 4 and certain Phase 3 clinical trials deemed as low risk, and provided they meet the MHRA’s eligibility criteria, set out below. Initial “first in human” Phase 1 or Phase 2 trials and clinical trial amendment applications will not be eligible.

The scheme aims to reduce the time taken to get lowest-risk clinical trials up and running, to give UK patients quicker access to potentially life-saving medicines, without undermining patient safety. The MHRA encourages clinical trial sponsors to use the scheme for all eligible trials and estimates that this will include 20% of UK initial clinical trial applications.Continue Reading UK clinical trials – new notification scheme for lowest-risk clinical trials

At the beginning of July, the MHRA published its 2023 – 2026 Corporate Plan, which highlights, amongst many other topics, the importance of introducing new legislation and guidance on clinical trials in the UK to help provide the “stable and predictable regulatory environment that companies require”. The intention is that by 31 March 2026, the MHRA will implement a revised regulatory framework for clinical trials.

Work on a new clinical trial framework is already underway. On 21 March 2023, the MHRA published its response to the UK consultation (which ran from 17 January to 14 March 2022) on legislative proposals for changes to the law governing clinical trials, namely the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004.

Responses demonstrated strong support to update and improve the legislation governing clinical trials, with most respondents agreeing that patient safety should remain the focus of the legislation, but with a more flexible and risk proportionate approach to decision-making. In line with responses to other recent consultations, the MHRA is looking to align with international standards rather than be limited by alignment with the EU. It is hoped that the implementation of the proposals will make it easier and more efficient to run trials in the UK, enabling greater patient access to new, safe and life-changing treatments, while retaining the UK as an attractive place for trials.

In terms of next steps, the drafting of the statutory instrument to update the clinical trials legislation is expected to be laid before parliament in the Autumn of 2023. Comprehensive guidance will also accompany the legislation.Continue Reading Legislative change is afoot for clinical trials conducted in the UK

In May 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a draft guidance (Draft Guidance) addressing the requirement for all investigators involved in clinical trials conducted under a U.S. Investigational New Drug (IND) application to sign Form FDA 1572. This includes investigators in clinical trial sites outside the U.S.

By signing Form FDA 1572 (Form 1572), the investigator of a drug or biologic trial warrants that they and any listed staff have the experience and background needed to conduct the trial and agrees to comply with the protocol and all applicable U.S. regulatory provisions governing the conduct of clinical trials.  From an FDA standpoint, it provides a clear basis of responsibility (and potential liability) under the applicable clinical trial regulations (21 CFR 312) for those who sign the form.  It also raises questions about the extent of FDA’s extraterritorial reach over non-U.S. investigators who conduct IND studies outside of the United States.Continue Reading FDA Guidance on Clinical Investigators Signing Form FDA 1572 and Practical Challenges Outside the US

The UK MHRA has issued draft guidance on randomised controlled trials generating real-world evidence (RWE) that is used to support regulatory decisions. It is intended to be the first in a series of guidance documents addressing RWE. The guidance is part of the MHRA’s push to reinforce the view of the MHRA as a pro-innovative regulatory authority, and that the UK is a leading country in which to conduct clinical research, post-Brexit.
Continue Reading UK MHRA consultation on real-world evidence

On 7 September 2020, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) initiated a public consultation on draft Guidelines 07/2020 on the concepts of controller and processor in the GDPR. Any interested party could provide comments by 19 October 2020 using the dedicated form.

The draft Guidelines contain elements that are of interest for companies active in the life science sector as they may have an impact on comapnies’ day-to-day research and commercial activities in the EU and their compliance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR).
Continue Reading Draft EU guidelines on the concepts of controller and processor—key elements for life sciences companies

Earlier this month, we commented on the European Commission proposal for a Regulation accelerating existing procedures for clinical trials where medicinal products containing or consisting of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are tested for the development of vaccines and therapies to treat COVID-19. The European Commission had proposed that, during the pandemic and by derogation to the GMO regulatory framework, the requirement of a prior environmental risk assessment or consent by the national competent authorities should not apply.
Continue Reading Update: Regulation for COVID-19 clinical trials conducted with medicinal products containing or consisting of GMOs has now been adopted

As part of the strategy to fight COVID-19, the European Commission has proposed a Regulation to facilitate the conduct of clinical trials using medicinal products containing or consisting of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The European Commission recognises that the applicable regulatory framework in relation to GMOs is unable to adequately address the challenges created by the pandemic. While some vaccines in development contain attenuated viruses or live vectors, which may fall within the definition of a GMO, there is uncertainty on the interactions between the GMO regulatory framework and the legislation on clinical trials and medicinal products. This is further aggravated by the absence of a common approach by the EU Member States.
Continue Reading The European Commission proposes a Regulation for COVID-19 clinical trials conducted with medicinal products containing or consisting of GMOs

On 11 June 2020, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), during its Management Board meeting, has endorsed the methodology and next steps leading to the go-live of the Clinical Trials Information System (CTIS) which is now fixed for December 2021. A group consisting of representatives of the EU Member States and the European Commission has been set up to prioritise and coordinate all outstanding issues prior to go-live. The CTIS is the centralised EU portal and database for information storage foreseen by the Clinical Trials Regulation.  
Continue Reading EU Clinical Trials Regulation: The Clinical Trials Information System expected to go live by December 2021, according to the EMA

On 7 April 2020, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a Notice to sponsors on validation and qualification of computerised systems used in clinical trials (Notice). This Notice was developed by the EMA’s GCP Inspectors Working Group (IWG) and the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) to highlight for clinical trial sponsors the legal and regulatory requirements which apply to software tools used in the conduct of clinical trials.

In addition, the EMA updated the Answers to Questions 8 and 9 of the Agency’s Q&A on Good Clinical Practice (GCP) (GCP Q&A) in line with the Notice.Continue Reading EMA’s Notice on validation and qualification of software tools used in clinical trials