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Toxicol Pathol. 1999 Jan-Feb;27(1):27-31.

Safety assessment of biotechnology-derived pharmaceuticals: ICH and beyond.

Author information

1
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Office of Therapeutics Research and Review, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA.

Abstract

Many scientific discussions, especially in the past 8 yr, have focused on definition of criteria for the optimal assessment of the preclinical toxicity of pharmaceuticals. With the current overlap of responsibility among centers within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), uniformity of testing standards, when appropriate, would be desirable. These discussions have extended beyond the boundaries of the FDA and have culminated in the acceptance of formalized, internationally recognized guidances. The work of the International Committee on Harmonisation (ICH) and the initiatives developed by the FDA are important because they (a) represent a consensus scientific opinion, (b) promote consistency, (c) improve the quality of the studies performed, (d) assist the public sector in determining what may be generally acceptable to prepare product development plans, and (e) provide guidance for the sponsors in the design of preclinical toxicity studies. Disadvantages associated with such initiatives include (a) the establishment of a historical database that is difficult to relinquish, (b) the promotion of a check-the-box approach, i.e., a tendancy to perform only the minimum evaluation required by the guidelines, (c) the creation of a disincentive for industry to develop and validate new models, and (d) the creation of state-of-the-art guidances that may not allow for appropriate evaluation of novel therapies. The introduction of biotechnology-derived pharmaceuticals for clinical use has often required the application of unique approaches to assessing their safety in preclinical studies. There is much diversity among these products, which include the gene and cellular therapies, monoclonal antibodies, human-derived recombinant regulatory proteins, blood products, and vaccines. For many of the biological therapies, there will be unique product issues that may require specific modifications to protocol design and may raise additional safety concerns (e.g., immunogenicity). Guidances concerning the design of preclinical studies for such therapies are generally based on the clinical indication. Risk versus benefit decisions are made with an understanding of the nature of the patient population, the severity of disease, and the availability of alternative therapies. Key components of protocol design for preclinical studies addressing the risks of these agents include (a) a safe starting dose in humans, (b) identification of potential target organs, (c) identification of clinical parameters that should be monitored in humans, and (d) identification of at-risk populations. One of the distinct aspects of the safety evaluation of biotechnology-derived pharmaceuticals is the use of relevant and often nontraditional species and the use of animal models of disease in preclinical safety evaluation. Extensive contributions were made by the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research to the ICH document on the safety of biotherapeutics, which is intended to provide worldwide guidance for a framework approach to the design and review of preclinical programs. Rational, scientifically sound study design and early identification of the potential safety concerns that may be anticipated in the clinical trial can result in preclinical data that facilitate use of these novel therapies for use in humans without duplication of effort or the unnecessary use of animals.

PMID:
10367669
DOI:
10.1177/019262339902700106
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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