FDA Efforts to Advance Development of Gene Therapies


Today, we’re taking a step toward shaping this modern structure for the regulation of gene therapy. The agency is issuing a suite of six scientific guidance documents intended to serve as the building blocks of a modern, comprehensive framework for how we’ll help advance the field of gene therapy while making sure new products meet the FDA’s gold standard for safety and effectiveness.

These policies are part of our efforts to communicate the steps we’re taking to provide clear recommendations to sponsors and researchers, so that we can better support innovation. The documents are being issued in draft form so that we can solicit public input on these new policies. As with all draft guidances, all of the comments we receive will be carefully considered prior to finalizing these documents. We’re committed to working with stakeholders to bring novel treatments to the market while ensuring the safety of patients.

Disease-Specific Gene Therapy Guidances

The FDA has issuing three new draft guidance documents on the development of gene therapy products for specific disease categories. These are the first three disease-specific guidances that the agency is issuing for gene therapy products. Our new commitment to develop disease-specific guidance documents reflects the increasing activity in this field, and its growing importance to advancing public health.

Human Gene Therapy for Hemophilia: Gene therapy products for hemophilia are now being developed as single-dose treatments that may enable long-term production of the missing or abnormal coagulation factor in patients. This may reduce or eliminate the need for coagulation factor replacement. To define the proper development pathway for such products, we’re issuing a new draft guidance on gene therapy products that are targeted to the treatment of hemophilia. Once finalized, this new guidance will provide recommendations on the FDA’s current thinking on clinical trial design and preclinical considerations to support the development of these gene therapy products. Among other elements, the draft guidance provides recommendations regarding surrogate endpoints that could be used by sponsors pursuing accelerated approval of gene therapy products that are intended for treatment of hemophilia.

Human Gene Therapy for Retinal Disorders: Another area of fast-paced activity is gene therapy products targeted to the treatment of retinal disorders. The Human Gene Therapy for Retinal Disorders guidance, once finalized, will assist those developing gene therapy products for a wide variety of retinal disorders affecting both adult and pediatric patients. Gene therapy products currently undergoing clinical trials in the United States for retinal disorders are commonly delivered by intravitreal injections (into the fluid portion of the eye), or by subretinal injections (beneath the retina). In some cases, the gene therapy products are encapsulated in a device to be implanted within the eye. This new guidance document will focus on issues that are specific to gene therapies for retinal disorders. The document provides recommendations related to product development, preclinical testing, and clinical trial design for such products.

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