The Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS) has become widely accepted today in the academic, industrial, and regulatory world. While the initial application of the BCS was to regulatory science bioequivalence (BE) issues and related implications, it has come to be utilized widely by the pharmaceutical industry in drug discovery and development as well. This brief manuscript will relate the story of the BCS development. While much of the ground work for the BCS goes back to the pharmacokinetic and drug absorption research by Gordon Amidon (GLA) in the 1970s and 1980s, the realization of the need for a classification or categorization of drug and drug products for setting dissolution standards became apparent to GLA during his 1990–1991 sabbatical year at the FDA. Initiated at the invitation of the then CEDR director, Dr. Carl Peck, to become a visiting scientist at the FDA, the goal was to promote regulatory research at the FDA, in my case, in biopharmaceutics, and to develop a science-based system to simplify regulatory requirements.
absorption; biopharmaceutics; dissolution standards; intestinal permeability; solubility
Principles of dissolution science have been applied to allow waiver of in vivo bioequivalence studies for oral immediate release solid dosage forms, providing certain stipulations are met. This approach reduces regulatory burden without sacrificing product quality and performance requirements that assure continuing equivalence. These principles are broadly applicable to other dosage forms and routes of administration. In this article, we postulate a further opportunity, which relies on a determination of “optimal performance” for nonsolution orally administered drug products. The determination can be applied to certain highly soluble and rapidly dissolving drug products without further study, paving the way possibly for even further reductions in regulatory burden.
BCS; dissolution; drug release; optimum product performance; regulatory burden
In the last decade, discussions on the development of the regulatory framework of generic versions of complex drugs such as biologicals and non-biological complex drugs have attracted broad attention. The terminology used is far from harmonized and can lead to multiple interpretations of legal texts, reflection papers, and guidance documents regarding market introduction as well as reimbursement. This article describes the meaning of relevant terms in different global regions (Europe, USA, WHO) and offers a proposal for a globally accepted terminology regarding (non-) biological complex drugs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1208/s12248-013-9532-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
biosimilars; generics; non biological complex drugs; substitution; terminology
The aim of this critical review is to reach a global consensus regarding the introduction of follow-on versions of nonbiological complex drugs (NBCD). A nonbiological complex drug is a medicinal product, not being a biological medicine, where the active substance is not a homo-molecular structure, but consists of different (closely related and often nanoparticulate) structures that cannot be isolated and fully quantitated, characterized and/or described by state of the art physicochemical analytical means and where the clinical meaning of the differences is not known. The composition, quality and in vivo performance of NBCD are highly dependent on manufacturing processes of both the active ingredient as well as in most cases the formulation. The challenges posed by the development of follow-on versions of NBCD are illustrated in this paper by discussing the ‘families’ of liposomes, iron–carbohydrate (‘iron–sugar’) drugs and glatiramoids. It is proposed that the same principles for the marketing authorization of copies of NBCD as for biosimilars be used: the need for animal and/or clinical data and the need to show similarity in quality, safety and efficacy. The regulatory approach of NBCD will have to take into consideration the specific characteristics of the drugs, their formulation and manufacturing process and the resulting critical attributes to achieve their desired quality, safety and efficacy. As with the biosimilars, for the NBCD product, family-specific methods should be evaluated and applied where scientifically proven, including sophisticated quality methods, pharmacodynamic markers and animal models. Concerning substitution and interchangeability of NBCD, it is also advisable to take biosimilars as an example, i.e. (1) substitution without the involvement of a healthcare professional should be discouraged to ensure traceability of the treatment of individual patients, (2) keep an individual patient on a specific treatment if the patient is doing well and only switch if unavoidable and (3) monitor the safety and efficacy of the new product if switching occurs.
biosimilars; generics; nonbiological complex drugs; regulatory guidance; substitution
This study compared in vitro dissolution characteristics and other quality measures of different amoxicillin, metronidazole, and zidovudine products purchased in the Americas to a comparator pharmaceutical product (CPP). These three drugs are classified as Biopharmaceutics Classification System Class I drugs with the possibility that dissolution findings might be used to document bioequivalence. All investigated zidovudine products were found to be in vitro equivalent to the CPP. Only 3 of 12 tested amoxicillin products were found to be in vitro equivalent to the CPP. None of the tested metronidazole products were in vitro equivalent to the CPP. These findings suggest but do not confirm bioinequivalence where in vitro comparisons failed, given that an in vivo blood level study might have confirmed bioequivalence. At times, identifying a CPP in one of the selected markets proved difficult. The study demonstrates that products sold across national markets may not be bioequivalent. When coupled with the challenge of identifying a CPP in different countries, the results of this study suggest the value of an international CPP as well as increased use of BCS approaches as means of either documenting bioequivalence or signaling the need for further in vivo studies. Because of increased movement of medicines across national borders, practitioners and patients would benefit from these approaches.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1208/s12248-012-9350-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
bioequivalence; Biopharmaceutics Classification System; comparator pharmaceutical products; equivalence; standards
Regulatory approaches for evaluating therapeutic equivalence of multisource (or generic) drug products vary among different countries and/or regions. Harmonization of these approaches may decrease the number of in vivo bioequivalence studies and avoid unnecessary drug exposure to humans. Global harmonization for regulatory requirements may be promoted by a better understanding of factors underlying product performance and expectations from different regulatory authorities. This workshop provided an opportunity for pharmaceutical scientists from academia, industry and regulatory agencies to have open discussions on current regulatory issues and industry practices, facilitating harmonization of regulatory approaches for establishing therapeutic equivalence and interchangeability of multisource drug products.
bioequivalence; harmonization; interchangeability; regulatory standards; therapeutic equivalence
Modified release products are complex dosage forms designed to release drug in a controlled manner to achieve desired efficacy and safety. Inappropriate control of drug release from such products may result in reduced efficacy or increased toxicity. This workshop provided an opportunity for pharmaceutical scientists from academia, industry, and regulatory agencies to discuss current industry practices and regulatory expectations for demonstrating pharmaceutical equivalence and bioequivalence of MR products, further facilitating the establishment of regulatory standards for ensuring therapeutic equivalence of these products.
bioequivalence; interchangeability; modified release; pharmaceutical equivalence; therapeutic equivalence
The workshop “Pharmacogenetics in Individualized Medicine: Methods, Regulatory, and Clinical Applications” was held November 15–16, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. This workshop provided an opportunity for pharmaceutical scientists, clinical practitioners, clinical laboratory scientists, and FDA to discuss methods, regulatory, and the application of pharmacogenetics in clinical practice and drug discovery. Key highlights of the workshop were: (a) the use of genetic information in individualized medicine has significant potential in advancing drug development and human health by optimizing drug response, drug efficacy, and preventing adverse drug reactions; (b) various barriers exist preventing the advance of the individualized medicine in the society, industry, and clinical practice; and (c) the barriers may be overcome by integrated approaches; the education of researchers, clinical practitioners, and patients and fostering interactive communication among stakeholders. By targeting the AAPS audience, this workshop was one step among many steps that AAPS–FIP is intending to take towards removing the barriers to widespread uptake of pharmacogenetics in drug discovery and clinical practice.
clinical pharmacology; drug discovery; drug metabolism; individualized medicine; pharmacogenetics; pharmacogenomics
The workshop “Bioequivalence, Biopharmaceutics Classification System, and Beyond” was held May 21–23, 2007 in North Bethesda, MD, USA. This workshop provided an opportunity for pharmaceutical scientists to discuss the FDA guidance on the Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS), bioequivalence of oral products, and related FDA initiatives such as the FDA Critical Path Initiative. The objective of this Summary Workshop Report is to document the main points from this workshop. Key highlights of the workshop were (a) the described granting of over a dozen BCS-based biowaivers by the FDA for Class I drugs whose formulations exhibit rapid dissolution, (b) continued scientific support for biowaivers for Class III compounds whose formulations exhibit very rapid dissolution, (c) scientific support for a number of permeability methodologies to assess BCS permeability class, (d) utilization of BCS in pharmaceutical research and development, and (e) scientific progress in in vitro dissolution methods to predict dosage form performance.
bioavailability; bioequivalence; biopharmaceutics classification system (BCS); oral absorption; permeability; regulatory science; solubility
For quantitative bioanalytical method validation procedure and requirements, there was a relatively good agreement between chromatographic assays and ligand-binding assays. It was realized that the quantitative and qualitative aspects of bioanalytical method validation should be reviewed and applied appropriately.Some of the major concerns between the 2 methodologies related to the acceptable total error for precision and accuracy determination and acceptance criteria for an analytical run. The acceptable total error for precision and accuracy for both the methodologies is less than 30. The 4–6–15 rule for accepting an analytical run by a chromatographic method remained acceptable while a 4–6–20 rule was recommended for ligand-binding methodology.The 3rd AAPS/FDA Bioanalytical Workshop clarified the issues related to placement of QC samples, determination of matrix effect, stability considerations, use of internal standards, and system suitability tests.There was a major concern and issues raised with respect to stability and reproducibility of incurred samples. This should be addressed for all analytical methods employed. It was left to the investigators to use their scientific judgment to address the issue.In general, the 3rd AAPS/FDA Bioanalytical Workshop provided a forum to discuss and clarify regulatory concerns regarding bioanalytical method validation issues.