Last week’s round-up;
22 – 26 June 2020

published 29 Jun 2020

Mutual Recognition of European/US GMP Inspections

Earlier this month, the European Commission, EMA and the FDA held their 2020 bilateral regulatory dialogue meeting. Various topics were discussed including the mutual recognition of GMP inspections. In July 2019, the authorities fully implemented the MRA for certain human medicines, and in this month’s meeting the next milestones in this regard were tackled. These milestones include the expansion of the MRA to veterinary medicines and the inclusion of vaccines and plasma-derived products by July 2022 is under consideration.

EC: European Reference Networks (ERN) ecosystem to horizon 2030

In 2 virtual meetings organized on 17 and 18 June, the Coordinators and the Board of Member States shared information on initiatives put in place during the pandemic to support patients affected by rare diseases and to draw lessons for a potential second wave. They discussed the questions related to the on-going enlargement process of the ERNs through the recent inclusion of Affiliated partners and the forthcoming new members in 2021. They also spoke to the implications in terms of financing, use of the virtual consultation platform CPMS and integration of the ERNs within national systems. The discussions on the current system, then kick-started a brainstorming concerning a more long term vision of the whole ERN ecosystem by horizon 2030, that will continue for discussion in future meetings.

The entire press release can be found here:

EMA nominates Emer Cooke as new EMA Executive Director

At an extraordinary virtual session on 25 June, the Board of the EMA selected Emer Cooke from a shortlist of candidates created by the European Commission.Ms Cooke will now be invited to give a statement to the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) on 13 July 2020. The appointment of the new Executive Director will be made after that meeting. Emer Cooke, an Irish national, is currently the Director of the Regulation and Prequalification Department at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.

Further details of the press release can be found here:

EMA Press Release:  Data requirements for phase 3 COVID-19 trials

Convergence on key aspects of phase 3 CT designs will help developers to generate robust evidence on potential COVID-19 vaccines and to consistently meet the needs of global regulators. This should expedite and streamline development and authorisation of vaccines against COVID-19. On 22 June in a workshop organised by EMA and FDA under the umbrella of ICMRA, global regulators focused on non-clinical and clinical data from early phase studies that are needed before proceeding with advanced (phase 3) trials, further details can be found here:

Nitrosamines and other unexpected impurities: lessons learnt

The European Commission, the EMA, national competent authorities in the EEA and the EDQM have issued recommendations that draw on lessons learnt from the presence of nitrosamines in sartan medicines, which are widely used to control blood pressure. With these recommendations, European regulators aim to clarify the roles and responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies and to amend the guidance on the control of impurities and GMP. The management of detected impurities, communication with patients and healthcare professionals, and international cooperation are also included in the recommendations. The European Network hopes that this guidance will help regulators and companies prevent and mitigate the risks of nitrosamines and other unexpected impurities in the future.

FDA, EC and EMA intensify collaboration

The EC, EMA and FDA have further intensified their collaboration through regular interactions, notably under the umbrella of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA). Topics discussed in the June meeting include; sharing experience and challenges on development of Covid19 vaccines, co-operation on therapies for ultrarare diseases, real world evidence, GMP mutual recognition agreements, orphan and pediatric medicines.

The full press release can be found here:

Free EMA SAWP protocol assistance for Academia

Free EMA SAWP protocol assistance for Academia Applicants from the academic sector can receive free protocol assistance for developing orphan medicines, as of 19 June 2020.   EMA offers this incentive to further encourage the development of medicines for rare diseases. The fee waiver for academia is available to: public or private highereducation establishments awarding academic degrees; public or private non-profit research organisation whose primary mission is to pursue research; international European interest organisations (as defined in Regulation (EU) No1290/2013).  Firstly, the applicant must be established in the EEA.  Secondly, the applicant must neither be financed nor managed by private for-profit organisations in the pharmaceutical sector, nor have concluded any agreement with any pharmaceutical companies about sponsorship or participation in the research project in question.

Full details of the scheme can be found here:

EMA SAWP meeting dates for 2021

EMA has issued dates for the 2021 SAWP meetings and deadlines for submission of scientific advice, protocol assistance, qualification of biomarkers and parallel consultation requests. Full details can be found under this link:

EC requests expression of interest in a consultation on voluntary sharing of market launch intentions

The EC has invited stakeholders to comment on a pilot project which will request prospective MAHs to declare their market launch intentions on a voluntary and confidential basis. The pilot aims to raise awareness of the limited roll-out of CP medicines in some EU Member States, and to improve regulators’ understanding of the reasons behind delayed market launch. The focus of the pilot will be on orphan medicines and medicines to treat cancer with the deadline for comments on 22 July 2020.

As link to the EC site can be found here:

Ph. Eur. Revised Raman Spectroscopy Chapter Public Consultation

The Ph. Eur. is seeking feedback on the revised draft chapter 2.2.48 on Raman Spectroscopy. Recent technological developments in Raman spectrometry have prompted several updates as well as the addition of new sections to the chapter: • Update of the section on response-intensity scale. • A new section on spectral resolution using calcium carbonate. • Procedures for the comparison of spectra have been included. The draft chapter is published in Pharmeuropa 32.3 and is open for public consultation between July and September 2020. Users who wish to submit comments but are unable to do so by the end of the consultation period due to COVID-19, are encouraged to contact their National Pharmacopoeia Authority in Ph. Eur. member states or the EDQM Helpdesk.

EC proposes relaxing GMO regulations for COVID-19 vaccines

The European Commission (EC) has proposed changes to the EU regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which would relax the requirements for the development of COVID-19 vaccines. The proposed changes would allow the clinical trials of GMO-containing candidate vaccines and COVID-19 treatments to start within the shortest possible timelines. The EC still plans to include an environmental risk assessment as part of the marketing authorization procedure for any products that fall under the proposed relaxed GMO regulations. These proposed regulations would also allow the distribution of medicinal products containing GMOs under a compassionate use exemption of Regulation (EC) No 726/2004. The EC has also indicated that this proposed regulation is temporary and is applicable only for the duration of the pandemic:

EMA: Updated procedural advice for orphan medicinal product designation

The EMA updated its procedural advice for orphan medicinal product designations on 15th June 2020. Applicants are now required to provide a description of the mechanism of action of their medicine in lay language in a maximum of 100 words. The text should describe as simply as possible the clinically relevant principle mechanism of action, in relation to the condition applied for. If orphan status is granted the text provided will be included in the public summary of the orphan designation published on the EMA website. The preferred format of the document is word format which should be submitted via IRIS with the other required documents listed in section 3.2 of the procedural advice.

Brexit:  Joint letter on the need for a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the EU and UK

Six organisations from biopharma industry, including EFPIA and EUCOPE, have urged the EU to separate talks about post-Brexit regulatory cooperation from broader political negotiations. The plea is made amid fears the collapse of free trade talks will force a hard split between the UK and EU regulatory regimes. Particularly in current environment they stress it is crucial to ensure as much cooperation as possible with regard to regulatory processes and the import and export of medicines and medical supplies across UK/EU borders, in order to minimise delays in products reaching patients.

The letter in full can be found here: 

International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) issues statements on vaccines to the public and HCPs

ICMRA has issued statements on vaccine confidence for the general public and on vaccine safety and effectiveness for HCPs. They explain the robust scientific and independent processes that medicines regulators worldwide follow, that ensure only vaccines that conform to the highest standards of safety and effectiveness can reach and remain on the market.

Full details of the statements in 7 languages can be found under this link:

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