FDA Withdraws Draft Guidance Regarding Statistical Approaches to Evaluate Analytical Similarity of Biosimilars

As we previously reported, in September 2017 FDA issued draft guidance entitled Statistical Approaches to Evaluate Analytical Similarity that “describes the type[s] of information a sponsor of a proposed biosimilar product should obtain” to support a showing of analytical similarity to a licensed reference product biologic.  Today, FDA withdrew this draft guidance.

In withdrawing the guidance FDA stated that “[a]fter considering public comments that the agency received about the draft guidance, the FDA determined it would withdraw the draft guidance as it gives further consideration to the scientific and regulatory issues involved.”  According to FDA, nineteen public comments submitted in response to the draft guidance “addressed a range of issues that could impact the cost and efficiency of biosimilar development, including the number of reference product lots the draft guidance would recommend biosimilar developers sample in their evaluation of high similarity and the statistical methods for this evaluation.”

FDA stated that it “intends to issue future draft guidance” with the goal of “address[ing] potential challenges faced by biosimilar sponsors in designing studies that are intended to demonstrate that a proposed biosimilar product is highly similar to a reference product” and “providing appropriate flexibility for sponsors in order to help spur the efficient development of biosimilars without compromising the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for evaluating marketing applications for biosimilars.”