Drug Development Tools (DDT) Qualification Programs

New! Change in Process for Qualification of Drug Development Tools

The process for qualification of drug development tools is changing under new FD&C Act Section 507. FDA is posting information about these updates to the DDT submission processes.

Check for details, documents and information consistent with new section 507(c).

The Drug[1] Development Tool (DDT) Qualification Programs allow CDER to work with submitters to guide them as they develop or refine a DDT for a specific context of use.  CDER then will rigorously evaluate the submission for use in the regulatory process. Qualifying a DDT will allow sponsors to use the DDT in the qualified context of use during drug development without requesting that CDER reconsider and reconfirm the suitability of the DDT for the qualified context of use. 

Mission and Objectives

  • To qualify and make DDTs publicly available for a specific context of use to expedite drug development and review of regulatory applications
  • To provide a framework for scientific collaboration to facilitate DDT development
  • To facilitate integration of qualified DDTs in regulatory review
  • To encourage development of DDTs for contexts of use with unmet needs
  • To encourage the formation of collaborative groups to undertake DDT development programs to increase the efficiency and lessen the individual resource burden incumbent with DDT development
  • To encourage innovation in drug development 

Qualification Programs

CDER has developed DDT Qualification Programs directed towards the following types of DDTs:

Qualified DDTs

A list of qualified DDTs can be accessed through the following links:


What is Qualification?

Qualification is a conclusion that within the stated context of use, the DDT can be relied upon to have a specific interpretation and application in drug development and regulatory review. Once qualified, DDTs will be publicly available to be used in any drug development program for the qualified context of use.  The qualified DDT can be included in IND or NDA/BLA submissions without the need for CDER to reconsider and reconfirm the suitability of the DDT as long as: 

  • There are no serious study flaws
  • There are no attempts to apply the DDT outside the qualified context of use
  • There are no new and conflicting scientific facts not known at the time the qualification was determined

Qualification may contribute to acceptance and application of DDTs across multiple drug development programs. Having qualified DDTs that can be utilized by many sponsors will aid in optimizing drug development and evaluation.

These Qualification Programs promote a collaborative setting in which there are advantages for multiple interested parties to work together in a consortium to develop DDTs for qualification. Resources and knowledge-sharing outside a specific drug development program can accelerate DDT development and facilitate availability of DDTs at critical milestones for future drug development programs. Early and continued interactions with FDA during the DDT development process are critical to the success of these programs.  

What is Context of Use?

The term “context of use” refers to a comprehensive description that fully and clearly delineates the limits of FDA’s qualification decision in terms of the manner and purpose of use for the DDT(s). The context of use statement should describe all criteria under which the DDT is qualified for use. The qualified context of use defines the boundaries within which the available data adequately justify use of the DDT(s). As data from additional studies are obtained over time, submitters of DDTs may continue working within the DDT Qualification Programs to submit additional data and expand the qualified context of use.


[1] For the purposes of this website, all references to drugs include both human drugs and therapeutic biologic products unless otherwise specified.


Page Last Updated: 06/22/2017
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