In April 2021, the Regulatory Information Management (RIM) Working Group of DIA’s Regulatory Affairs Community issued Version 2.0 of the RIM Whitepaper that provides insights relating to eleven key regulatory capability areas including RIM implementation considerations, processes, and best practices. The Whitepaper also provides context for the RIM Reference Model in development. “One of the key aspects of the model is standardizing terminology and relationships between information,” explains IQVIA Senior Regulatory Affairs Director Donald Palmer in this conversation moderated by Ennov Director of Product Management Kathie Clark. “It puts the stake in the ground in terms of the basic data elements required to support regulatory in its business process and also other functional areas which depend on regulatory,” continues Venkatraman Balasubramanian, Senior Vice President, Life Sciences, Orion Innovation. “If we can put the best practices out there, we all align on the hope that this will allow industry to bring life-saving or life-improving medications and therapies to patients faster. We're hoping to make a big difference,” concludes Pat Shafer, Managing Director, FTI Consulting. Download Version 2.0 of the RIM Whitepaper.
DIA Global Forum Australia/New Zealand Regional Editor Richard Day (University of New South Wales, Medicine, St. Vincent’s Hospital) and John Skeritt, Head of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), discuss regulatory strategies and other initiatives designed to help nurture clinical research and product development in Australia post-pandemic. With “Australia having had many fewer cases than comparable countries, we've actually become in very short time a very attractive global destination for clinical trials. And, in fact, because of our low numbers, the demand has significantly increased,” John explains. “For medicines, biologicals, and devices, for example, in the last six months of last year, July to December 2020, we actually had a 17% increase in the number of clinical trials, even though COVID was rife in some parts of Australia at that time.”
Japan, the world’s third largest pharmaceutical market, has long been engaged in clinical research in every therapeutic area. “COVID-19 totally changed the world. The remote connection is the only way for the CRAs and the sites to communicate and work together, so both the sponsors and the sites started using remote communication or remote monitoring gradually,” explains Eri Sekine, Region Head of Trial Monitoring Japan, Global Development Operations, Novartis Pharma KK, Japan. “So now it's the time to consider how to utilize modern technologies in clinical trials. I think, based on our experience, that people will start thinking more aggressively about digitalization, digital solutions, to make clinical trials easier for sites, sponsors, and for patients.”
How has DIA responded to its communities’ educational and informational needs during the pandemic? “We've always gotten our inspiration and our motivation and our energy from working together, whether it's with our own team on projects or with subject matter experts and key opinion leaders in our stakeholder community. So that reuniting of the community is really central in our minds right now,” explains DIA Global Chief Executive Barbara Lopez Kunz. “One of the things that you're going to hear at the Global Annual Meeting coming up in June is this whole topic of misinformation. We've had this topic of anti-vaccine commentary in public spaces in our minds, and many of the people around the world in the regulatory community have asked me and our team to help address this. You're going to hear us talking about how we combat misinformation so that people actually understand what's going on in health and how they can protect themselves.”
In 2015, Japan's Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare established an expert advisory panel to focus on Japan Vision: Healthcare 2035 and plan ways to meet the challenges facing the country’s healthcare system over the next two decades. “Japan has been facing an unprecedented situation with fewer children and our aging society. The Japan policy of Healthcare 2035 actually focuses on this problem,” explains Kanmuri Kazuhiro, Ascent Development Services. “The balance of demand and supply will become a serious problem in the near future in Japan. The real question is: How do we manage financing and make the quality of the healthcare system good?”
The HMA-EMA Big Data Task Force has proposed ten priority actions to help the EU’s medicines regulatory network make best use of big data to support public health. “The first one we mention is the establishment of a Data Analytics Real-World Interrogation Network, also called DARWIN EU, which we see as a natural evolution of what regulators have been doing for decades now,” explains Nikolai Brun, Co-Chair, HMA-EMA Steering Group on Big Data, in this conversation with Thomas Kühler, Head of Regulatory Science & Policy, EU/AMESA, Sanofi, and Global Forum Regional Editor for Europe. “Technological advances have enabled us to query data remotely and preserving patient privacy and anonymity. We can query data remotely in European databases with an intelligent probe, and this probe can ask a question to the database and return with the answer. That is the vision behind DARWIN EU.”
“How can we find drugs to treat COVID as fast as possible? The master protocol is to me the obvious example,” suggests Lisa LaVange, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics at UNC Chapel Hill and former Director of the Office of Biostatistics at CDER, FDA. “They do require quite a bit more upfront planning but those that are launched and have been running for a while have been able to study a large number of drugs in a really smart way.” Lisa serves on the Therapeutics Clinical Committee and as Co-Chair of the Master Protocol Subcommittee for Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Innovations & Vaccines (ACTIV) and was interviewed by Richard Zink, Vice President, Data Management, Biostatistics, Statistical Programming at Lexitas and Associate Editor of Therapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science.
Global Forum Translational Science Co-Editors Gary Kelloff and David Parkinson look back at 2020 and discuss milestones in the early detection and targeted therapy of cancer and other diseases as well as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on clinical research.
“As biosimilars receive FDA approval and more and more become available to patients, we're beginning to see a greater understanding and appreciation for these medicines as lower cost options,” explains Dr. Hillel Cohen, executive director of scientific affairs in the Sandoz division of Novartis and Sandoz representative to the education committee of the US Biosimilars Council. “You are not being switched to a new medication. You're being kept on the same medication that's being made by a different manufacturer.”
In 2017, Health Canada launched the Regulatory Review of Drugs and Devices (R2D2) initiative with the goal of creating a regulatory system that provides greater and faster access to therapeutic products aligned with Canada's healthcare system needs. “One of our greatest achievements was setting up an aligned review process where a manufacturer can make a drug submission to the regulator and make a submission to health technology assessment at about the same time,” explains Megan Bettle, Director General, COVID-19 Regulatory Response Team at Health Canada. “By doing this, we're still making independent decisions but it's allowed those two separate processes to be brought together so you no longer have a prolonged regulatory review, HTA review, you have decisions being made much closer in time. It's making it more efficient for drugs to actually get to patients who need them.”