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After a BLA is approved, the product may also be subject to official lot release as a condition of approval. As part of the manufacturing process, the
manufacturer is required to perform certain tests on each lot of the product before it is released for distribution. If the product is subject to official release by the FDA, the manufacturer submits
samples of each lot of product to the FDA together with a release protocol showing a summary of the history of manufacture of the lot and the results of all of the manufacturer's tests performed on
the lot. The FDA may also perform certain confirmatory tests on lots of some products, such as viral vaccines, before releasing the lots for distribution by the manufacturer. In addition, the FDA
conducts laboratory research related to the regulatory standards on the safety, purity, potency, and effectiveness of biological products. As with drugs, after approval of biologics, manufacturers
must address any safety issues that arise, are subject to recalls or a halt in manufacturing, and are subject to periodic inspection after approval.
The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009, or BPCIA, creates an abbreviated approval pathway for biological products
shown to be highly similar to or interchangeable with an FDA-licensed reference biological product. Biosimilarity sufficient to reference a prior FDA-approved product requires that there be no
differences in conditions of use, route of administration, dosage form, and strength, and no clinically meaningful differences between the biological product and the reference product in terms of
safety, purity, and potency. Biosimilarity must be shown through analytical studies, animal studies, and at least one clinical trial, absent a waiver by the Secretary. A biosimilar product may be
deemed interchangeable with a prior approved product if it meets the higher hurdle of demonstrating that it can be expected to produce the same clinical results as the reference product and, for
products administered multiple times, the biologic and the reference biologic may be switched after one has been previously administered without increasing safety risks or risks of diminished efficacy
relative to exclusive use of the reference biologic. No biosimilar or interchangeable products have been approved under the BPCIA to date. Complexities associated with the larger, and often more
complex, structures of biological products, as well as the process by which such products are manufactured, pose significant hurdles to implementation which are still being evaluated by the FDA.
reference biologic is granted twelve years of exclusivity from the time of first licensure of the reference product, and no application for a biosimilar can be submitted for four years
from the date of licensure of the reference product. The first biologic product submitted under the abbreviated approval pathway that is determined to be interchangeable with the reference product has
exclusivity against a finding of interchangeability for other biologics for the same condition of use for the lesser of (i) one year after first commercial marketing of the first
interchangeable biosimilar, (ii) eighteen months after the first interchangeable biosimilar is approved if there is no patent challenge, (iii) eighteen months after resolution of a
lawsuit over the patents of the reference biologic in favor of the first interchangeable biosimilar applicant, or (iv) 42 months after the first interchangeable biosimilar's application
has been approved if a patent lawsuit is ongoing within the 42-month period.
Sponsors of clinical trials of FDA-regulated products, including drugs, are required to register and disclose certain clinical trial
information. Information related to the product, patient population, phase of investigation, trial sites and investigators, and other aspects of the clinical trial is then made public as part of the
registration. Sponsors are also obligated to discuss the results of their clinical trials after completion. Disclosure of the results of these trials can be delayed until the new product or new
indication being studied has been approved. Competitors may use this publicly available information to gain knowledge regarding the progress of development programs.