[Federal Register: December 2, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 231)]
[Notices]               
[Page 67455-67456]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr02de03-72]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Food and Drug Administration

[Docket No. 2003E-0253]

 
Determination of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent 
Extension; LEXAPRO

AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined

[[Page 67456]]

the regulatory review period for LEXAPRO and is publishing this notice 
of that determination as required by law. FDA has made the 
determination because of the submission of an application to the 
Director of Patents and Trademarks, Department of Commerce, for the 
extension of a patent that claims that human drug product.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments and petitions to the Division of 
Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 
Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic comments 
to http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Claudia Grillo, Office of Regulatory 
Policy (HFD-013), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, 
Rockville, MD 20857, 240-453-6699.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term 
Restoration Act of 1984 (Public Law 98-417) and the Generic Animal Drug 
and Patent Term Restoration Act (Public Law 100-670) generally provide 
that a patent may be extended for a period of up to 5 years so long as 
the patented item (human drug product, animal drug product, medical 
device, food additive, or color additive) was subject to regulatory 
review by FDA before the item was marketed. Under these acts, a 
product's regulatory review period forms the basis for determining the 
amount of extension an applicant may receive.
    A regulatory review period consists of two periods of time: A 
testing phase and an approval phase. For human drug products, the 
testing phase begins when the exemption to permit the clinical 
investigations of the drug becomes effective and runs until the 
approval phase begins. The approval phase starts with the initial 
submission of an application to market the human drug product and 
continues until FDA grants permission to market the drug product. 
Although only a portion of a regulatory review period may count toward 
the actual amount of extension that the Director of Patents and 
Trademarks may award (for example, half the testing phase must be 
subtracted as well as any time that may have occurred before the patent 
was issued), FDA's determination of the length of a regulatory review 
period for a human drug product will include all of the testing phase 
and approval phase as specified in 35 U.S.C. 156(g)(1)(B).
    FDA recently approved for marketing the human drug product LEXAPRO 
(escitalopram oxalate). LEXAPRO is indicated for the treatment of major 
depressive disorder. Subsequent to this approval, the Patent and 
Trademark Office received a patent term restoration application for 
LEXAPRO (U.S. Patent No. 34,712) from H. Lundbeck A/S, and the Patent 
and Trademark Office requested FDA's assistance in determining this 
patent's eligibility for patent term restoration. In a letter dated 
July 16, 2003, FDA advised the Patent and Trademark Office that this 
human drug product had undergone a regulatory review period and that 
the approval of LEXAPRO represented the first permitted commercial 
marketing or use of the product. Shortly thereafter, the Patent and 
Trademark Office requested that FDA determine the product's regulatory 
review period.
    FDA has determined that the applicable regulatory review period for 
LEXAPRO is 1,146 days. Of this time, 636 days occurred during the 
testing phase of the regulatory review period, while 510 days occurred 
during the approval phase. These periods of time were derived from the 
following dates:
    1. The date an exemption under section 505(i) of the Federal Food, 
Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act) (21 U.S.C. 355(i)) became effective: 
June 27, 1999. FDA has verified the applicant's claim that the date the 
investigational new drug application became effective was on June 27, 
1999.
    2. The date the application was initially submitted with respect to 
the human drug product under section 505(b) of the act: March 23, 2001. 
FDA has verified the applicant's claim that the new drug application 
(NDA) for LEXAPRO (NDA 21-323) was initially submitted on March 23, 
2001.
    3. The date the application was approved: August 14, 2002. FDA has 
verified the applicant's claim that NDA 21-323 was approved on August 
14, 2002.
    This determination of the regulatory review period establishes the 
maximum potential length of a patent extension. However, the U.S. 
Patent and Trademark Office applies several statutory limitations in 
its calculations of the actual period for patent extension. In its 
application for patent extension, this applicant seeks 827 days of 
patent term extension.
    Anyone with knowledge that any of the dates as published are 
incorrect may submit to the Division of Dockets Management (see 
ADDRESSES) written or electronic comments and ask for a redetermination 
by February 2, 2004. Furthermore, any interested person may petition 
FDA for a determination regarding whether the applicant for extension 
acted with due diligence during the regulatory review period by June 1, 
2004. To meet its burden, the petition must contain sufficient facts to 
merit an FDA investigation. (See H. Rept. 857, part 1, 98th Cong., 2d 
sess., pp. 41-42, 1984.) Petitions should be in the format specified in 
21 CFR 10.30.
    Comments and petitions should be submitted to the Division of 
Dockets Management. Three copies of any mailed information are to be 
submitted, except that individuals may submit one copy. Comments are to 
be identified with the docket number found in brackets in the heading 
of this document. Comments and petitions may be seen in the Division of 
Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    Dated: October 30, 2003.
Jane A. Axelrad,
Associate Director for Policy, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
[FR Doc. 03-29927 Filed 12-1-03; 8:45 am]

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