Thirty-nine medicines for human use were recommended for marketing authorization by the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in the first half of 2014, compared with 44 in first half of 2013 and 33 in first half of 2012.
This figure includes a number of new innovative medicines with the potential to meet unmet medical needs, treat diseases for which no treatments were previously available or bring significant added benefit to patients over existing therapies. Among these medicines are the anticancer medicines Mekinist and Gazyvaro, anti-inflammatory Entyvio and anti-infective Daklinza, as well as Translarna and Sylvant, both intended for treatment of rare conditions.
In parallel, six medicines were recommended for approval via the European Union centralized procedure based on generic or informed consent applications, down from 13 in the first half of 2013.
More than two in three applicants received scientific advice from the CHMP during the development phase of their medicine, and for innovative medicines four in five applicants received such advice. This is a significant increase compared with the first half of 2013 (when one in two applicants received scientific advice), and mirrors the growing number of requests for scientific advice received by the EMA.
The number of new medicines intended for the treatment of rare diseases is steadily increasing, providing treatments for patients who often have only few or no options. In the first half of 2014, eight medicines were recommended for the treatment of rare diseases, including three for which the CHMP recommended conditional approval but whose applications were withdrawn by the sponsor prior to a final decision by the European Commission.
Conditional approval is one of the agency’s mechanisms to provide early patient access to medicines that fulfill unmet medical needs or address life-threatening diseases. The CHMP also used this mechanism for the recommendation of the first treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Translarna), a life-threatening condition.
The CHMP granted two positive opinions after an accelerated assessment for the medicines Sylvant and Daklinza; this mechanism aims to speed up the assessment of medicines expected to be of major public health interest particularly from the point of view of therapeutic innovation.
The CHMP also gave an opinion on the use of a new combination product for treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in a compassionate use program (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir). These programs are intended to give patients with a life-threatening, long-lasting or seriously disabling disease access to treatments still under development. The treatment paradigm of hepatitis C is shifting rapidly, with the development of several new classes of direct-acting antivirals. By recommending the conduct of three compassionate use programs and the marketing authorization of three new medicines for HCV infection over the past eight months, the EMA actively is supporting this shift, which is expected to bring significant added benefit to patients.