Conference Coverage

2018: A banner year for hematology drug approvals



– It was banner year for new hematology drug approvals, according to R. Angelo de Claro, MD, of the Food and Drug Administration.

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So far in 2018 there have been 32 new malignant hematology and nonmalignant hematology drug approvals by the FDA, including 12 first-time approvals, 5 new biosimilars, and 15 new indications for previously approved drugs, Dr. de Claro, clinical team leader in the FDA’s division of hematology products in Silver Spring, Md., said during an overview of the approvals at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

These include six new approvals for first-line treatment, and eight for pediatric indications, he said.

Highlights were discussed at two ASH-FDA joint symposia at the meeting, including one focused on the malignant hematology approvals, and another on the nonmalignant hematology approvals. In a video interview, Dr. de Claro provides some additional insight into their importance and about what might lie ahead.

“I think what’s exciting is that you have drug development occurring in more common conditions such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, as well as in rare conditions, including hairy cell leukemia – and the first-ever approval in hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis,” he said. “It’s been very busy at the FDA; stay tuned ... the year’s not done yet. There could be more coming and we certainly anticipate more applications in the future.”

Dr. de Claro is an FDA employee. He reported having no other relevant disclosures.

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