Combination Drugs: Adding Up the Opportunities - Pharmaceutical Technology

Latest Issue
PharmTech

Latest Issue
PharmTech Europe

Combination Drugs: Adding Up the Opportunities
Fixed-dose combination drug therapies give rise to innovation in solid-dosage formulations and manufacturing.


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 36, Issue 10, pp. 40-47, 127


(ILLUSTRATION BY DAN WARD)
As pharmaceutical companies face shortfalls in R&D productivity and increased generic-drug incursion, product lifecycle management becomes increasingly important. Combination therapies provide an opportunity for innovator drug companies to extend the lifecycle of a given API by developing a fixed-dose combination product that may offer improved and synergistic efficacy, improved dosing regimes, and greater patient compliance. Combination drugs also allow specialty pharmaceutical companies to use specialized drug-delivery and formulation strategies for product differentiation. Challenges, however, exist in developing fixed-dose combination products compared with single API products, such as maintaining the physical and chemical stability of the APIs and modulating drug release.

Regulatory framework

Combination products encompass a wide range of products, including drug–device combinations. By regulatory definition, a combination product is a product composed of any combination of a drug and a device; a biological product and a device; a drug and a biological product; or a drug, device, and a biological product (1, 2). Under 21 CFR 3.2 (e), a combination product is defined to include:

  • "A product comprised of two or more regulated components (i.e., drug/device, biologic/device, drug/biologic, or drug/device/biologic) that are physically, chemically, or otherwise combined or mixed and produced as a single entity" (e.g., a monoclonal antibody combined with a therapeutic drug, a device coated or impregnated with a drug or biologic, prefilled syringes, insulin injector pens, metered dose inhalers, and transdermal patches).
  • "Two or more separate products packaged together in a single package or as a unit and comprised of drug and device products, device and biological products, or biological and drug products" (e.g., drug or biological product packaged with a delivery device).
  • A drug, device, or biological product packaged separately that according to its investigational plan or proposed labeling is intended for use only with an approved individually specified drug, device, or biological product where both are required to achieve the intended use, indication, or effect and…the labeling of the approved product would need to be changed (e.g., to reflect a change in intended use, dosage form, strength, route of administration, or significant change in dose)."
  • "Any investigational drug, device, or biological product packaged separately that according to its proposed labeling is for use only with another individually specified investigational drug, device, or biological product where both are required to achieve the intended use, indication, or effect" (e.g., photosensitizing drugs and activating laser/light sources and iontophoretic drug delivery patches and controllers) (1–3).


Table I: Number and type of combination drug products for original applications for new drug applications (NDAs), biologics license applications (BLAs), premarket approval applications (PMAs), premarket notifications (510(k)s, investigational new drugs (INDs), investigational device exemptions (IDEs), and humanitarian-use exemptions (HDEs) received in fiscal year 2011 by FDA.
In fiscal year 2011, FDA received 288 original applications classified into nine categories of combination products (see Table I ). These applications included 26 new drug applications and 134 new investigational new drug applications, of which the majority were drug–device combinations (see Table I) (2).

Combination products also include oral fixed-dose combination drugs of two or more APIs in a single product form (i.e., tablet and capsule). According to 21 CFR 300.50, "two or more drugs may be combined in a single dosage form when each component makes a contribution to the claimed effects and the dosage of each component (amount, frequency, duration) is such that the combination is safe and effective for a significant patient population requiring such concurrent therapy as defined in the labeling for the drug" (4).


ADVERTISEMENT

blog comments powered by Disqus
LCGC E-mail Newsletters

Subscribe: Click to learn more about the newsletter
| Weekly
| Monthly
|Monthly
| Weekly

Survey
What role should the US government play in the current Ebola outbreak?
Finance development of drugs to treat/prevent disease.
Oversee medical treatment of patients in the US.
Provide treatment for patients globally.
All of the above.
No government involvement in patient treatment or drug development.
Finance development of drugs to treat/prevent disease.
29%
Oversee medical treatment of patients in the US.
10%
Provide treatment for patients globally.
6%
All of the above.
42%
No government involvement in patient treatment or drug development.
13%
Jim Miller Outsourcing Outlook Jim MillerCMO Industry Thins Out
Cynthia Challener, PhD Ingredients Insider Cynthia ChallenerFluorination Remains Key Challenge in API Synthesis
Marilyn E. Morris Guest EditorialMarilyn E. MorrisBolstering Graduate Education and Research Programs
Jill Wechsler Regulatory Watch Jill Wechsler Biopharma Manufacturers Respond to Ebola Crisis
Sean Milmo European Regulatory WatchSean MilmoHarmonizing Marketing Approval of Generic Drugs in Europe
FDA Reorganization to Promote Drug Quality
FDA Readies Quality Metrics Measures
New FDA Team to Spur Modern Drug Manufacturing
From Generics to Supergenerics
CMOs and the Track-and-Trace Race: Are You Engaged Yet?
Source: Pharmaceutical Technology,
Click here