patent life beyond their current expiration date, depending on the expected length of clinical trials and other factors involved in the submission of the relevant NDA.
Market exclusivity provisions under the FDCA also can delay the submission or the approval of certain applications. The FDCA provides a five-year period of non-patent marketing exclusivity within the U.S. to the first applicant to gain approval of an NDA for a new chemical entity. A therapeutic candidate is a new chemical entity if the FDA has not previously approved any other new therapeutic candidate containing the same active moiety, which is the molecule or ion responsible for the action of the therapeutic candidate substance. During the exclusivity period, the FDA may not accept for review an abbreviated new drug application, or ANDA, or a 505(b)(2) NDA submitted by another company for another version of such therapeutic candidate where the applicant does not own or have a legal right of reference to all the data required for approval. However, an application may be submitted after four years if it contains a certification of patent invalidity or non-infringement. The FDCA also provides three years of marketing exclusivity for an NDA, 505(b)(2) NDA or supplement to an approved NDA if new clinical investigations, other than bioavailability studies, that were conducted or sponsored by the applicant are deemed by the FDA to be essential to the approval of the application, for example, for new indications, dosages or strengths of an existing therapeutic candidate. This three-year exclusivity covers only the conditions associated with the new clinical investigations and does not prohibit the FDA from approving ANDAs for therapeutic candidates containing the original active agent. Five-year and three-year exclusivity will not delay the submission or approval of a full NDA. However, an applicant submitting a full NDA would be required to conduct or obtain a right of reference to all of the preclinical studies and adequate and well-controlled clinical trials necessary to demonstrate safety and effectiveness.
Disclosure of Clinical Trial Information: Sponsors of clinical trials of FDA-regulated products are required to register and disclose certain clinical trial information. Information related to the product, patient population, phase of investigation, trial sites and investigators, and other aspects of the clinical trial is then made public as part of the registration. Sponsors are also obligated to disclose the results of their clinical trials within one year of completion, although disclosure of the results of these trials can be delayed in certain circumstances for up to two additional years. Competitors may use this publicly available information to gain knowledge regarding the progress of development programs.
Orphan drug designation. Under the Orphan Drug Act, the FDA may grant orphan drug designation to therapeutic candidates intended to treat a rare disease or condition, which is generally a disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., or more than 200,000 individuals in the U.S. and for which there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of developing and making available in the U.S. a therapeutic candidate for this type of disease or condition will be recovered from sales in the U.S. for that therapeutic candidate. Orphan drug designation must be requested before submitting a marketing application for the therapeutic for that particular disease or condition. After the FDA grants orphan drug designation, the identity of the therapeutic agent and its potential orphan use are disclosed publicly by the FDA. Orphan drug designation does not convey any advantage in or shorten the duration of the regulatory review and approval process. The FDA may revoke orphan drug designation, and if it does, it will publicize the drug is no longer designated as an orphan drug.
If a therapeutic candidate with orphan drug designation subsequently receives the first FDA approval for the disease for which it has such designation, the therapeutic candidate is entitled to orphan product exclusivity, which means that the FDA may not approve any other applications to market the same therapeutic candidate for the same indication, except in very limited circumstances, for seven years. Orphan drug exclusivity, however, could also block the approval of one of our therapeutic candidates for seven years if a competitor obtains approval of the same therapeutic candidate as defined by the FDA or if our therapeutic candidate is determined to be contained within the competitor’s therapeutic candidate for the same indication or disease.
Pediatric exclusivity and pediatric use. Under the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, or BPCA, certain therapeutic candidates may obtain an additional six months of exclusivity if the sponsor submits information requested in writing by the FDA, referred to as a Written Request, relating to the use of the active moiety of the therapeutic candidate in children. The FDA may not issue a Written Request for studies on unapproved or approved