Published in – Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases – July 06, 2011
by B. Miyamoto & Emil Kakkis, MD PhD of the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases
The potential investment impact of improved access to accelerated approval on the development of treatments for low prevalence rare diseases. Patients with rare diseases have had difficulty obtaining disease-specific treatments due to inadequate biotechnology investment despite the existence of promising science. The 1983 Orphan Drug Act was passed to address this problem, offering financial incentives to companies developing rare disease drugs.
Background: Over 95% of rare diseases lack treatments despite many successful treatment studies in animal models. To improve access to treatments, the Accelerated Approval (AA) regulations were implemented allowing the use of surrogate endpoints to achieve drug approval and accelerate development of life-saving therapies. Many rare diseases have not utilized AA due to the difficulty in gaining acceptance of novel surrogate endpoints in untreated rare diseases.
Methods: To assess the potential impact of improved AA accessibility, we devised clinical development programs using proposed clinical or surrogate endpoints for fifteen rare disease treatments.
Results: We demonstrate that better AA access could reduce development costs by approximately 60%, increase investment value, and foster development of three times as many rare disease drugs for the same investment.
Conclusion: Our research brings attention to the need for well-defined and practical qualification criteria for the use of surrogate endpoints to allow more access to the AA approval pathway in clinical trials for rare diseases.