U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. For Industry
  3. Developing Products for Rare Diseases & Conditions
  1. For Industry

Developing Products for Rare Diseases & Conditions

The FDA Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) mission is to advance the evaluation and development of products (drugs, biologics, devices, or medical foods) that demonstrate promise for the diagnosis and/or treatment of rare diseases or conditions. In fulfilling that task, OOPD evaluates scientific and clinical data submissions from sponsors to identify and designate products as promising for rare diseases and to further advance scientific development of such promising medical products. The office also works on rare disease issues with the medical and research communities, professional organizations, academia, governmental agencies, industry, and rare disease patient groups.

OOPD provides incentives for sponsors to develop products for rare diseases. The program has successfully enabled the development and marketing of over 600 drugs and biologic products for rare diseases since 1983. In contrast, fewer than 10 such products supported by industry came to market between 1973 and 1983. The Orphan Grants Program has been used to bring more than 60 products to marketing approval. The Humanitarian Use Device Program has been the first step in approval of 70 Humanitarian Device Exemption approvals.

Prescription Drugs

The Orphan Drug Designation program provides orphan status to drugs and biologics which are defined as those intended for the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a rare disease or condition, which is one that affects less than 200,000 persons in the US or meets cost recovery provisions of the act. 

The Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Voucher Program says that a sponsor who receives an approval for a drug or biologic for a "rare pediatric disease" may qualify for a voucher that can be redeemed to receive a priority review of a subsequent marketing application for a different product.

FDA Rare Disease Patient Advocacy Day Logo, 2012

The Humanitarian Use Device (HUD) program designates medical devices that are intended to benefit patients in the treatment or diagnosis of a disease or condition that affects or is manifested in not more than 8,000 individuals in the United States per year as eligible for Humanitarian Device Exemption.

The OOPD administers three extramural grant programs: The Orphan Products Clinical Trials Grants Program provides funding for clinical research that tests the safety and efficacy of drugs, biologics, medical devices and medical foods in rare diseases or conditions; The Natural History Grants Program which supports studies that advance rare disease medical products development through characterization of the natural history of rare diseases and conditions; The Pediatric Device Consortia (PDC) Grants Program provides funding to develop nonprofit consortia to facilitate pediatric medical device development.

For more information on any of our programs, please visit the programs’ web pages.

Please note our mailing address, telephone number, FAX number and email address:
Office of Orphan Products Development
Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002
Main Telephone Number: 301-796-8660
Fax Number: 301-847-8621

Back to Top