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SEC Filings

AC IMMUNE SA filed this Form 20-F on 03/21/2019
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Orphan Drug Regulation


In the European Union, Regulation (EC) No. 141/2000, as amended, states that a drug will be designated as an orphan drug if its sponsor can establish:


·that it is intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening or chronically debilitating condition affecting not more than five in ten thousand persons in the Community when the application is made, or that it is intended for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a life-threatening, seriously debilitating or serious and chronic condition in the European Union and that without incentives it is unlikely that the marketing of the drug in the European Union would generate sufficient return to justify the necessary investment; and


·that there exists no satisfactory method of diagnosis, prevention or treatment of the condition in question that has been authorized in the European Union or, if such method exists, that the drug will be of significant benefit to those affected by that condition.


Regulation (EC) No. 847/2000 sets out further provisions for implementation of the criteria for designation of a drug as an orphan drug. An application for the designation of a drug as an orphan drug must be submitted at any stage of development of the drug before filing of a marketing authorization application.


If a European Union-wide community marketing authorization in respect of an orphan drug is granted or if all the European Union Member States have granted marketing authorizations in accordance with the procedures for mutual recognition, the European Union and the Member States will not, for a period of 10 years, accept another application for a marketing authorization, or grant a marketing authorization or accept an application to extend an existing marketing authorization, for the same therapeutic indication, in respect of a similar drug. This period may however be reduced to six years if, at the end of the fifth year, it is established, with respect to the drug concerned, that the criteria for orphan drug designation are no longer met, in other words, when it is shown on the basis of available evidence that the product is sufficiently profitable not to justify maintenance of market exclusivity. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a marketing authorization may be granted, for the same therapeutic indication, to a similar drug if:


·the holder of the marketing authorization for the original orphan drug has given its consent to the second applicant;


·the holder of the marketing authorization for the original orphan drug is unable to supply sufficient quantities of the drug; or


·the second applicant can establish in the application that the second drug, although similar to the orphan drug already authorized, is safer, more effective or otherwise clinically superior.


Other incentives available to orphan drugs in the European Union include financial incentives such as a reduction of fees or fee waivers and protocol assistance. Orphan drug designation does not shorten the duration of the regulatory review and approval process.


Manufacturing and Manufacturers’ License


Pursuant to Directive 2003/94/EC, as transposed into the national laws of the Member States, the manufacturing of investigational medicinal products and approved drugs is subject to a separate manufacturer’s license and must be conducted in strict compliance with cGMP requirements, which mandate the methods, facilities, and controls used in manufacturing, processing, and packing of drugs to assure their safety and identity. Manufacturers must have at least one qualified person permanently and continuously at their disposal. The qualified person is ultimately responsible for certifying that each batch of finished product released onto the market has been manufactured in accordance with cGMP and the specifications set out in the marketing authorization or investigational medicinal product dossier. cGMP requirements are enforced through mandatory registration of facilities and inspections of those facilities. Failure to comply with these requirements could interrupt supply and result in delays, unanticipated costs and lost revenues, and subject the applicant to potential legal or regulatory action, including but not limited to warning letters, suspension of manufacturing, seizure of product, injunctive action or possible civil and criminal penalties.


Wholesale Distribution and License


Pursuant to Directive 2001/83/EC, the wholesale distribution of medicinal products is subject to the possession of an authorization to engage in activity as a wholesaler in medicinal products. Possession of a manufacturing authorization includes authorization to distribute by wholesale the medicinal products covered by that authorization. The distribution of medicinal products must comply with the principles and guidelines of good distribution practices, or GDP.



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