U.S. Patent Term Restoration and Marketing Exclusivity
Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of the FDA approval of the use of our product candidates, some of our U.S. patents may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, commonly referred to as the Hatch-Waxman Amendments. The Hatch-Waxman Amendments permit a patent restoration term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during product development and the FDA regulatory review process. However, patent term restoration cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the product’s approval date. The patent term restoration period is generally one-half the time between the effective date of an IND and the submission date of a new drug application, or NDA, or BLA plus the time between the submission date of an NDA or BLA and the approval of that application. Only one patent applicable to an approved product is eligible for the extension and the application for the extension must be submitted prior to the expiration of the patent. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in consultation with the FDA, reviews and approves the application for any patent term extension or restoration.
Under the Hatch-Waxman Amendments, a drug product containing a new chemical entity as its active ingredient is entitled to five years of market exclusivity, and a product for which the sponsor is required to generate new clinical data is entitled to three years of market exclusivity. A drug or biological product can also obtain pediatric market exclusivity in the U.S. Pediatric exclusivity, if granted, adds six months to existing exclusivity periods and patent terms. This six-month exclusivity, which runs from the end of other exclusivity protection or patent term, may be granted based on the voluntary completion of a pediatric study in accordance with an FDA-issued “Written Request” for such a study.
The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 created an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products shown to be similar to, or interchangeable with, an FDA-licensed reference biological product. Biosimilarity, which requires that there be no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of safety, purity, and potency, can be shown through analytical studies, animal studies, and a clinical study or studies. Interchangeability requires that a product is biosimilar to the reference product and the product must demonstrate that it can be expected to produce the same clinical results as the reference product and, for products administered multiple times, the biologic and the reference biologic may be switched after one has been previously administered without increasing safety risks or risks of diminished efficacy relative to exclusive use of the reference biologic.
A new biologic is granted 12 years of exclusivity from the time of first licensure during which a biosimilar may not be launched.
Government Regulation Outside of the U.S.
European Union Regulation
In addition to regulations in the U.S., we will be subject to a variety of regulations in other jurisdictions governing, among other things, clinical studies and any commercial sales and distribution of our products. In particular, we view the EU and Japan as important jurisdictions for our business.
For purposes of developing our products, we must obtain the requisite approvals from regulatory authorities in each country prior to the commencement of clinical studies or marketing of the product in those countries. Certain countries outside of the U.S. have a similar process that requires the submission of a clinical study application much like the IND prior to the commencement of human clinical studies. In the EU, for example, a clinical trial application (“CTA”), must be submitted to each country’s national health authority and an independent ethics committee, much like the FDA and the IRB, respectively. Once the CTA is approved in accordance with a country’s requirements, clinical study development may proceed.
The EU has two main procedures for obtaining marketing authorizations in the EU Member States: a centralized procedure or national authorization procedure, under the latter of which one can seek go through the mutual recognition procedure or the decentralized procedure. All biotechnology products are assessed through the centralized procedure.
Under the centralized authorization procedure, sponsors submit a single marketing-authorization application to the EMA. This allows the marketing-authorization holder to market the product and make it available to patients and healthcare professionals throughout the EU on the basis of a single marketing authorization. EMA's Committee for Medicinal products for Human Use (“CHMP”) carries out a scientific assessment of the application and give a recommendation on whether the medicine should be marketed or not. Once granted by the EMA, the centralized marketing authorization is valid in all EU Member States as well as in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The centralized procedure is mandatory for biotechnology products.
Any product candidates we seek to commercialize in the EU are subject to review and approval by the European Medicines Authority (“EMA”). Submissions for marketing authorization to the EMA must be received and validated by that body which appoints a Rapporteur and Co-Rapporteur to review it. The entire review process must be completed within 210 days, with a “clock-stop” at