News & Events

FDA In Brief: FDA advances policy to make co-development of drugs and diagnostics in cancer trials more efficient

April 12, 2018

Media Inquiries

  Sandy Walsh

"The modern treatment of cancer increasingly involves the use of therapies that target the specific genetic features that drive the development and spread of tumors,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “Drug development programs have evolved to fit this paradigm by incorporating diagnostic tests into clinical trials as a way to better identify which cancers have the genetic characteristics being targeted by new medicines. The use of these diagnostics can allow providers to identify which patients may respond best to new treatments. In recognition of the opportunities offered by these scientific advances, the FDA is streamlining the agency’s review of cancer diagnostics that are developed in conjunction with drug trials. This cross-center approach to streamlining the process for determining the review requirements for diagnostics used in drug trials is an example of the Oncology Center of Excellence’s ongoing efforts to expedite the availability of safe and effective cancer treatments for patients."

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a draft guidance, Investigational In Vitro Diagnostics in Oncology Trials: Streamlined Submission Process for Study Risk Determination, to describe for sponsors of certain oncology trials an optional streamlined submission process to determine whether use of an investigational in vitro diagnostic (IVD) in a trial of investigational cancer drug or biological products is considered significant risk, non-significant risk, or exempt from further pre-market review.

Because many cancer treatments target a specific biomarker, IVDs are commonly used with cancer therapies to identify which patients have certain biomarkers and are therefore more likely to respond to treatment. In these cases, the companion diagnostic, a type of IVD, is required for the safe and effective use of the corresponding therapy.

Investigational IVDs and investigational drugs and biological products have different regulatory requirements. The process for determining whether an investigational IVD poses significant or non-significant risk to patients in a trial for an oncology therapy requires extensive coordination across different FDA product centers.

To reduce the administrative burden on sponsors and on FDA staff, the agency has issued draft guidance outlining circumstances under which sponsors may be able to include information about an investigational IVD in the Investigational New Drug (IND) application submission to the FDA center responsible for the therapeutic product (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research [CDER] or Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research [CBER]). This would allow the pre-market information related to the investigational drug and the investigational IVD to be contained in a single IND application.

Consolidating the information about both the investigational drug and device into the same application can enable more efficient review and help better establish the scientific relationship between the drug and the diagnostic being used to select patients for treatment. CDER or CBER would then coordinate with the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health to determine whether use of the investigational IVD in the trial is considered significant risk, non-significant risk, or exempt.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.


Page Last Updated: 04/12/2018
Note: If you need help accessing information in different file formats, see Instructions for Downloading Viewers and Players.
Language Assistance Available: Español | 繁體中文 | Tiếng Việt | 한국어 | Tagalog | Русский | العربية | Kreyòl Ayisyen | Français | Polski | Português | Italiano | Deutsch | 日本語 | فارسی | English