Vaccines, Blood & Biologics

SOPP 8402: Designation of Amendments as Major

Version #4
Effective Date: October 1, 2012

Printer-Friendly Version

  1. Purpose
    This Standard Operating Policy and Procedure (SOPP) describes the policy and procedures for Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) staff when assigning the designation of major amendment for Biologics License Applications (BLA)/Supplements or New Drug Applications (NDA)/Supplements, and communicating to the applicant the designation and the effect of the designation on the goal date.


  1. Scope 
    1. This SOPP covers Biologic License Applications (BLAs) and New Drug Applications (NDAs) and the associated efficacy and manufacturing supplements regulated under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), biosimilar biological products regulated under the Biosimilar User Fee Act of 2012 (BSUFA), and non-user fee submissions.
    2. This SOPP does not apply to BLAs regulated under the Medical Device User Fee Act (MDUFA).
    3. This SOPP does not apply to ANDAs regulated under the Generic Drug User Fee Act (GDUFA) program.


  1. Background
    1. In commitments made in support of PDUFA, FDA agreed to the goal of complete reviews of BLAs and NDAs and their respective supplements within specified time frames.
    2. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC Act) signed into law in March 2010, amends the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) to create an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products that are demonstrated to be “highly similar” (biosimilar) to or “interchangeable” with an FDA-approved biological product. These new statutory provisions also may be referred to as the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation (BPCI) Act.  The Biosimilar User Fee Act of 2012 (BSUFA) authorized fees and set goals for the review of biosimilar biological product applications, including post market safety activities. Biosimilar biological product applications will be submitted under Section 351(k) of the PHS Act.


  1. Definitions
    1. Amendment - the submission of information to a pending application or supplement, including additional information or reanalysis of data previously submitted, to clarify, revise or modify the application/supplement as originally submitted.
    2. Major Amendment – an amendment to an original application, efficacy supplement, manufacturing supplement or resubmission of any of these applications that extends the review clock.  
    3. Unsolicited Amendment - a submission of information or data not requested by the Agency.
    4. Resubmission - a complete response to an action letter addressing all identified deficiencies.
    5. Class 1 resubmission – applications submitted after a complete response letter that include the following items only or (combinations of these items):
      1. Final printed labeling;
      2. Draft labeling;
      3. Safety updates submitted in the same format, including tabulations, as the original safety submissions with new data and changes highlighted (except when large amounts of new information including important new adverse experiences not previously reported with the product are presented in the resubmission);
      4. Stability updates to support provisional or final dating periods;
      5. Commitments to perform Phase 4 [postmarketing] studies, including proposals for such studies;
      6. Assay validation data;
      7. Final release testing on the last 1-2 lots used to support approval;
      8. A minor analysis of data previously submitted to the application (determined by the Agency as fitting the Class 1 category);
      9. Other minor clarifying information (determined by the Agency as fitting the Class 1 category), and
      10. Other specific items that may be added later as the Agency gains experience with the scheme and will be communicated via guidance documents to industry.

        An example of minor clarifying information could be a response to a CR letter that contained only compliance issues stating the applicant’s compliance status has changed to acceptable and requesting the clock be started for completion of review for the application or supplement.
    6. Class 2 resubmission – resubmissions that include any other items, including any items that would require presentation to an advisory committee or a re-inspection of facilities.

      An example of a Class 2 resubmission could be one that includes a resubmission containing other than minor assay validation data. 


  2. Policy
    1. All priority and standard license applications or supplements subject to user fee performance goals will be reviewed within established timeframes.
    2. Non-user fee products will be reviewed under CBER’s Managed Review Process (MRP) adhering to the performance goal timeframes as resources permit.
    3. Amendments will be assessed for the purpose of designation as major. Note: CBER determined that amendments received for Class 1 resubmissions, undefined or labeling supplements will not be classified as major amendments.
    4. Major amendments may contain one or more of the following:
      1. A substantial amount of new data not previously submitted to or reviewed by the Agency;
      2. A substantial amount of new manufacturing or facility information not previously submitted to or reviewed by the Agency;
      3. A new analysis of studies not previously submitted to the pending application or supplement;
      4. Submission of a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) with Elements to Assure Safe Use (ETASU) not included in the original application;
      5. Significant amendment to previously submitted REMS with ETASU.
    5. The review clock will be extended for major amendments submitted to:
      1. Original applications, efficacy supplements:
        1. Major amendment may be submitted any time during the review cycle.
        2. Extends the goal date by three (3) months.
      2. Manufacturing supplements:
        1. Major amendment may be submitted any time during the review cycle.
        2. Extends the goal date by two (2) months.
    6. Only one major amendment is allowed per review cycle.
    7. Unsolicited amendments to applications and supplements are discouraged; however, in some cases (e.g., new adverse reaction, safety information, manufacturing information, etc.) such amendments may be necessary.
    8. Normally, unless the amount and type of information is substantive or voluminous, or the amendment is received so near the action due date as to preclude adequate time for the review, the review of a clarifying information request (IR) response will occur during the current review cycle.  IR responses do not extend the review clock without a designation as a major amendment. However, when appropriate (e.g., due to the nature, volume, or time of the submission) CBER may designate an IR response as a major amendment and extend the review clock.
    9. A response to a discipline review (DR) letter may be reviewed if the review can be completed in the current review cycle (including the designation and extension for a major amendment).
    10. CBER will not usually review an unsolicited amendment or a response to a DR letter received after the review of the application or supplement is complete and the issuance of an action letter is imminent (i.e., the type of action letter has been decided and comments are being drafted).
      1. The receipt of these amendments does not affect the goal date for the application or supplement.  However, there may be cases, such as in a priority application, where the amendment may support an approval in that review cycle.  In such cases the reviewing Office will determine whether the information should be considered prior to taking an action on the application.
      2. If these amendments are to be reviewed, a designation of major must be made.


  1. Responsibilities
    1. Product Office Regulatory Project Manager (RPM)
      1. Ensure that review committee members are notified of amendments (in coordination with the Chair).
      2. Ensure that potential major amendments are distributed to the review committee as soon as possible (in coordination with the Chair).
      3. Consult the review committee, or other individuals as needed, to assign a designation of major to an amendment.
      4. Ensure that the designation of amendments as major is made within 14 calendar days of receipt (or sooner if the action due date is less than 14 calendar days).
      5. Update the appropriate regulatory database with the designation (the database will automatically extend the review clock).
      6. Inform the review committee of new user fee related goal dates as appropriate.
      7. Ensure that a letter is issued informing the applicant of the designation and changed user fee related goal dates if the submission is designated as a major amendment.
    2. Review Committee Members or Consultant
      1. Evaluate the amendment in accordance with the above definition and recommend, with justification, a designation of major amendment to the Division Director, as appropriate.
      2. Respond to the RPM with the designation recommendation.
    3. Review Committee Chair (Chair)
      1. Notify review committee of amendments received (in coordination with the RPM).
      2. Distribute amendment to review committee (in coordination with the RPM).
      3. Write the review memo, including justification, designating the amendment as a major amendment.
    4. Division Director or designee
      1. Agree or disagree with designation of major amendment.


  1. Procedures   
    1. Notify all review committee members that an amendment was received. [RPM, Chair]
    2. Distribute submission to appropriate review committee members. [RPM, Chair]
    3. Determine if the submission qualifies as a major amendment within 14 calendar days of receipt; notify Chair. [Review Committee Member]
    4. Create review memo stating the designation of major amendment and the justification; forward to Division Director. [Chair]
    5. Make recommendation to Division Director or designee. [Chair]
    6. Agree or disagree with recommendation. [Division Director]
    7. If Division Director agrees:
      1. Draft and send Major Amendment Acknowledgment Letter to applicant; letter includes new goal date. Please refer to CBER’s Review Letter Templates on CBER’s Intranet Web page for the most recent approved template. [RPM]
      2. Notify review committee of new review schedule. [RPM/Chair]
    8. If Division Director disagrees: [Division Director]
      1. Write separate memo giving justification and
      2. Notify Review Committee Chair.
    9. Ensure all appropriate documentation is entered in the appropriate regulatory database and imported into CBER’s Electronic Document Room (EDR). [RPM]


  1. Appendix
    1. N/A


  1. References
    1. References below are located on CBER's Intranet Web Page
      1. CBER’s Review Letter Template Web page
    2. Web links to the references below can be found in the list following the History Section
      1. Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA)
      2. PDUFA V goals
      3. Information on Biosimilars
      4. Biosimilar User Fee Act (BSUFA)
      5. Biosimilar Biological Product Authorization Performance Goals and Procedures Fiscal Years 2013 – 2017


  1. History
Written/Revised Approved By Approval Date Version Number Comment
L Dixon for RMCC Robert A. Yetter, Ph.D. Sept 19, 2012 4 Revised to include changes in PDUFA V and include Biosimilars
L Dixon for RMCC Robert A. Yetter, Ph.D. Feb 9, 2009 3 Incorporate changes based on current PDUFA agreement, performance goals
Gilliam B. Conley
Len Wilson
Robert A. Yetter, Ph.D. April 16, 2001 2 Updated to reflect policy changes:
BLA replaces ELA & PLA; Major amendment option no longer available for supplements; Current milestone timeframes
Application Policy Task Force Rebecca Devine Aug 1, 1995 1 Reissued as SOPP 8402 in 11/21/1996.  No change to Guide content.  Formerly OD-R-7-96

Page Last Updated: 10/15/2012
Note: If you need help accessing information in different file formats, see Instructions for Downloading Viewers and Players.