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SEC Filings

AC IMMUNE SA filed this Form 20-F on 03/21/2019
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We estimate that it generally takes 10 to 15 years, or possibly longer, to discover, develop and bring to market a new pharmaceutical product in the United States. Several years may be needed to complete each phase, including discovery, preclinical, Phase 1, 2 or 3, or marketing authorization.


In addition, under the Pediatric Research Equity Act, or PREA, an NDA or supplement to an NDA must contain data to assess the safety and effectiveness of the drug for the claimed indications in all relevant pediatric subpopulations and to support dosing and administration for each pediatric subpopulation for which the product is safe and effective. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, or FDASIA, which was signed into law on July 9, 2012, amended the FDCA. FDASIA requires that a sponsor who is planning to submit a marketing application for a drug or biological product that includes a new active ingredient, new indication, new dosage form, new dosing regimen or new route of administration submit an initial Pediatric Study Plan, within sixty days of an end-of-phase 2 meeting or as may be agreed between the sponsor and FDA. The initial Pediatric Study Plan must include an outline of the pediatric study or studies that the sponsor plans to conduct, including study objectives and design, age groups, relevant endpoints and statistical approach, or a justification for not including such detailed information, and any request for a deferral of pediatric assessments or a full or partial waiver of the requirement to provide data from pediatric studies along with supporting information. FDA and the sponsor must reach agreement on the Pediatric Study Plan. A sponsor can submit amendments to an agreed-upon initial Pediatric Study Plan at any time if changes to the pediatric plan need to be considered based on data collected from nonclinical studies, early phase clinical trials, and/or other clinical development programs.


The cost of preparing and submitting an NDA is substantial. Under federal law, NDAs are subject to substantial application user fees and the sponsor of an approved NDA is also subject to annual product and establishment user fees. Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, as amended, each NDA must be accompanied by a user fee. The FDA adjusts the PDUFA user fees on an annual basis. PDUFA VI eliminates fees for supplements as well as for establishments, though applicants will be assessed annual prescription drug program fees for prescription drug products, rather than the prescription drug product fee assessed under the previous iteration of PDUFA. According to the FDA’s fee schedule for the 2019 FY, the user fee for each NDA application requiring clinical data is USD 2,588,478 and the annual program fee is USD 309,915. Fee waivers or reductions are available in certain circumstances, including a waiver of the application fee for the first application filed by a small business. Additionally, no user fees are assessed on NDAs for products designated as orphan drugs, unless the product also includes a non-orphan indication.


Once the NDA submission has been submitted, the FDA has 60 days after submission of the NDA to conduct an initial review to determine whether it is sufficient to accept for filing. Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, the FDA sets a goal date by which it plans to complete its review. This is typically 12 months from the date of submission of the NDA application. The review process is often extended by FDA requests for additional information or clarification. Before approving an NDA, the FDA will inspect the facilities at which the product is manufactured and will not approve the product unless the manufacturing facility complies with cGMPs and may also inspect clinical study sites for integrity of data supporting safety and efficacy. The FDA may also convene an advisory committee of external experts to provide input on certain review issues relating to risk, benefit and interpretation of clinical study data. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but generally follows such recommendations in making its decisions. The FDA may delay approval of an NDA if applicable regulatory criteria are not satisfied and/or the FDA requires additional testing or information. The FDA may require post-marketing testing and surveillance to monitor safety or efficacy of a product.


After the FDA evaluates the NDA and conducts inspections of manufacturing facilities where the drug product and/or its API will be produced, it may issue an approval letter or a Complete Response Letter. An approval letter authorizes commercial marketing of the drug with specific prescribing information for specific indications. A Complete Response Letter indicates that the review cycle of the application is complete and the application is not ready for approval. A Complete Response Letter may require additional clinical data and/or an additional pivotal Phase 3 clinical study(ies), and/or other significant, expensive and time-consuming requirements related to clinical studies, pre-clinical studies or manufacturing. Even if such additional information is submitted, the FDA may ultimately decide that the NDA does not satisfy the criteria for approval. The FDA could also approve the NDA with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, plan to mitigate risks, which could include medication guides, physician communication plans, or elements to assure safe use, such as restricted distribution methods, patient registries and other risk minimization tools. The FDA also may condition approval on, among other things, changes to proposed labeling, development of adequate controls and specifications, or a commitment to conduct one or more post-market studies or clinical studies. Such post-market testing may include Phase 4 clinical studies and surveillance to further assess and monitor the product’s safety and effectiveness after commercialization.



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