The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is announcing the availability of a draft document entitled “Human Gene Therapy for Rare Diseases; Draft Guidance for Industry.” The draft guidance document provides recommendations to stakeholders developing a human gene therapy (GT) product intended to treat a rare disease in adult and/or pediatric patients regarding the manufacturing, preclinical, and clinical trial design issues for all phases of the clinical development program. Such information is intended to assist sponsors in designing clinical development programs for such products, where there may be limited study population size and potential feasibility and safety issues as well as issues relating to the interpretability of bioactivity/efficacy outcomes that may be unique to rare diseases or to the nature of the GT product itself.
The Orphan Drug Act of 1983 (Pub. L. 97-414) defines a rare disease as a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 persons in the United States. Since most rare diseases have no approved therapies, there is a significant unmet need for effective treatments. However, developing safe and effective products to treat rare diseases can be challenging. For example, it may be more difficult to find and recruit such patients into clinical trials, and many rare diseases exhibit a number of variations or subtypes. Consequently, patients may have highly diverse clinical manifestations and rates of disease progression with unpredictable clinical courses. Despite these challenges, GT-related research and development continue to grow at a rapid rate, with several products advancing in clinical development.
The original deadline for public comments was October 10, 2018. On September 6, 2018, the FDA announced (83 FR 45249) they were extending the deadline to December 10, 2018.
Members of the public may submit comments by mail or at Regulations.gov. More information is available at this Federal Register notice.