[6/21/2018] The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the withdrawal of a draft guidance for industry entitled “Statistical Approaches to Evaluate Analytical Similarity,” issued in September 2017. The draft guidance, if finalized as written, was intended to provide advice for sponsors developing biosimilar products regarding the evaluation of analytical similarity between a proposed biosimilar product and the reference product. After considering public comments that the agency received about the draft guidance, the FDA determined it would withdraw the draft guidance as it gives further consideration to the scientific and regulatory issues involved. Comments submitted to the docket addressed a range of issues that could impact the cost and efficiency of biosimilar development, including the number of reference product lots the draft guidance would recommend biosimilar developers sample in their evaluation of high similarity and the statistical methods for this evaluation. The FDA believes that in better addressing these issues in the future, the agency can advance principles that can promote a more efficient pathway for the development of biosimilar products.
The agency intends to issue future draft guidance that will reflect state-of-the-art techniques in the evaluation of analytical data to support a demonstration that a proposed biosimilar product is highly similar to a reference product. The goal is for future draft guidance to address potential challenges faced by biosimilar sponsors in designing studies that are intended to demonstrate that a proposed biosimilar product is highly similar to a reference product, including consideration of appropriate methods to analyze analytical data to account for potential lot-to-lot variability of the reference product. Future draft guidance also will focus on providing appropriate flexibility for sponsors in order to help spur the efficient development of biosimilars without compromising the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for evaluating marketing applications for biosimilars.
The FDA continues to encourage sponsors of proposed biosimilar products to discuss product development plans with the agency, including the evaluation of analytical data intended to support a demonstration that the proposed biosimilar product is highly similar to a reference product. The FDA will continue to provide development-stage advice to sponsors of proposed biosimilar products or proposed interchangeable products through several types of formal meetings, which are described in more detail in FDA’s guidance for industry, Formal Meetings Between the FDA and Sponsors or Applicants of BsUFA Products. More information about this and other FDA guidance documents related to biosimilar products and interchangeable products, as well as contact information for FDA, is available at http://www.fda.gov/biosimilars.
The FDA will communicate publicly when new draft guidance is issued in relation to the evaluation of analytical data between a proposed biosimilar product and a reference product.