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An Update on FDA’s Contribution to COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing

November 5, 2020 | Blog | By Joanne Hawana

Back in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we published a post outlining the different kinds of diagnostic tests that were being marketed and the different roles of the two main federal regulators that oversee the quality of different subsets of tests. Since then, there have been some important policy developments affecting diagnostic and antibody testing. There also has been significant growth in the number of tests authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for point-of-care uses in various patient settings such as clinics, emergency departments, and physician offices. Read on for an update about these developments.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend our daily lives, the promise of a vaccine offers hope that life may, in the not-too-distant future, return to some version of normalcy. The path to getting a safe, accessible vaccine to market, however, presents a variety of its own challenges. As we’ve been exploring in our Bioethics in a Pandemic blog series, the pandemic has presented a host of bioethics issues pertinent to the vaccine development and distribution process. Mintz's Bridgette Keller recently shared her insights into how bioethics can (and should!) influence research and development at the M2D2 Challenge Awards. A video of her presentation is now available to view online.
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Life Sciences Newsletter — October 2020

October 19, 2020 | Article | By Adam Lenain, William Whelan, Susan Berson, Jonathan L. Kravetz, Terri Shieh-Newton

The October Mintz Life Sciences Newsletter brings the latest developments in life sciences, legal insights, and industry activity.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced what appears to be the first public warning made by the agency to a company promoting an approved prescription drug product for the unapproved use of treating COVID-19 symptoms. Although the regulatory action was announced in the FDA’s daily pandemic update on October 2, 2020, the warning letter issued by the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) is dated September 22, 2020. From our perspective, this public FDA action is notable for two distinct policy reasons.
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Trump Signs Executive Orders Aimed at Tying Domestic Drug Prices to Foreign Prices

September 15, 2020 | Blog | By Theresa Carnegie, Michelle Caton

President Trump has followed through on his threat to pharmaceutical manufacturers, signing new executive orders on Sunday that take a preliminary step toward the President’s goal of tying domestic drug prices to the prices manufacturers charge in foreign countries. The “Executive Order on Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First” follows a trio of drug pricing-related executive orders the administration issued this past July. At that time, President Trump also signed a different executive order with the same name, but withheld the order in an attempt to force pharmaceutical manufacturers to the negotiating table. The President warned manufacturers that if they did not propose alternatives to lower drug pricing within 30 days, his administration would take action to implement its previously-abandoned plan to peg U.S. drug prices to foreign prices. Sunday’s order follows weeks of negotiations between the White House and drug manufacturers that have apparently not resulted in any mutually-acceptable proposals for lowering American drug prices.
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Life Sciences Newsletter — Inaugural Edition

August 20, 2020 | Article | By Adam Lenain, William Whelan, Susan Berson, Jonathan L. Kravetz, Terri Shieh-Newton

The inaugural Mintz Life Sciences Newsletter brings the latest developments in life sciences, legal insights, and industry activity straight to your inbox.
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Sort It Out: Cell Sorting Method with Data Processing Steps Patent Eligible

August 11, 2020 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Jeff Giering

In XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, LC (Case 2019-1789, issued July 31, 2020), the Federal Circuit provided another example of a life sciences method claim avoiding patent ineligibility under the Alice framework at step one, altogether avoiding the “inventive concept” analysis under step two. 
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BAND TOGETHER: Corporate & Cultural Convergence in Life Sciences M&A

June 24, 2020 | | By William Whelan, Joshua D. Fox

The Mintz and Mergermarket report on recent M&A activity in the life sciences sector examines deal drivers and companies’ post-closing integration experiences.
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In a recent decision in In Re Humira (Adalimumab) Antitrust Litigation), No. 19-cv-1873, Judge Shah of the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a consolidated class action complaint filed by U.S. purchasers of AbbVie Inc.’s blockbuster biologic drug Humira alleging that AbbVie had prevented manufacturers of competing biosimilar drugs (“biosimilars”) from entering the U.S. market in violation of federal and state antitrust laws.
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COVID-19: Prioritized Patent Application Examination and Patents 4 Partnerships

May 15, 2020 | Blog | By Peter Corless, Carolina Säve, Rui Jacques

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently launched two new initiatives to support COVID-19 innovations: 1) a COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program, and 2) Patents 4 Partnerships that provides a searchable forum to list COVID-19 related published applications and patents available for licensing.
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Next Steps for 21st Century Cures 2.0

May 8, 2020 | Blog | By Aaron Josephson

On Monday, April 27, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) announced the next steps for 21st Century Cures 2.0 (Cures 2.0), legislation that will build on the original 21st Century Cures Act enacted in December 2016 (Cures 1.0). While Cures 1.0 aimed to speed up the process of bringing new treatments to market, Cures 2.0 is generally envisioned to emphasize public health and streamlined care delivery, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Elements envisioned to be in Cures 2.0 were outlined in a recently published concept paper that we discuss in this post.
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In Case You Missed It: COVID-19 Webinars to Keep You Informed

April 24, 2020 | Blog | By Michelle Caton

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has introduced uncertainty and unique challenges in nearly every aspect of life. During this unprecedented time, Mintz is working to keep our clients and community informed and empowered to navigate this new world. To that end, we’ve created a number of webinars on a variety of COVID-19-related topics of interest to health care industry stakeholders. In case you missed them, here’s a highlights reel of what we’ve covered so far – just click on the links below to access the webinar recordings.
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Celgene v. Sun Pharma Global: Satisfying Subject Matter Jurisdiction Under § 271(e)(2)

April 13, 2020 | Blog | By Adam Samansky, Peter Cuomo, Joe Rutkowski

On April 6, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, in Celgene Corp. v. Sun Pharma Global FZE, No. 19-cv-10099, denied Sun’s motion to dismiss Celgene’s claims that Sun’s generic Revlimid® (lenalidomide) Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) product infringes three patents not listed in the Orange Book for Revlimid® and for which Sun did not make any Paragraph IV certifications.
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On April 2, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a revised temporary enforcement policy regarding the manufacture and distribution of face masks and filtering facepiece respirators during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The revisions address two key omissions from the initial policy, which was released on March 25, 2020 and which we summarized in a prior blog post. Specifically, the agency has now provided guidance on: (1) the importation of respirators not approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and (2) the manufacture and distribution of face shields. FDA also added a question and answer about respirators manufactured in China to the KN95 air filtering standard (the Chinese equivalent of the U.S. government’s N95 standard) to its FAQ page on the personal protective equipment shortage and issued an emergency use authorization for non-NIOSH-approved respirators made in China.
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India Orders Shutdown Impacting Millions of Outsourced Technology and Financial Sector Workers

March 26, 2020 | Alert | By Julie Korostoff, Meredith M. Leary, Laura A. Stacey

This alert discusses what companies outsourcing critical business process functions to India should do in light of the Indian government’s order that telecom, IT, and other technology companies should, as far as possible, work from home.
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Closing the Orphan Drug Act Loophole

February 18, 2020 | Blog | By Aaron Josephson

On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced legislation to eliminate the “orphan drug loophole.” Current law allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant seven years of market exclusivity to a drug manufacturer if the drug is intended to treat a disease or condition affecting fewer than 200,000 patients in the U.S., or less commonly, if the manufacturer cannot expect to recover the costs of developing and marketing a drug. In some cases, even if the drug developer meets the orphan drug criterion of having no hope of recovering the costs, the drug does actually become profitable—some significantly so—but competitors are still barred from entering the market with a lower-cost alternative during the 7-year exclusivity period that exists by operation of law. To combat this issue, the recently introduced Senate bill (as well as a nearly-identical House bill introduced in October 2019) targets a loophole that allows market exclusivity under the Orphan Drug Act to be extended for future versions of the same drug without the drug's manufacturer having to show that the drug remains unprofitable.
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As discussed in an earlier blog post, the process for reauthorizing human medical product user fee programs at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for another 5-year period is getting started this year. Below we highlight some changes made to the programs when they were last reauthorized through the 2017 Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act (FDARA) (P.L. 115-52) and consider what could be included in the upcoming user fee reauthorization package.
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In our first blog in this multi-part series, we explored key considerations for protecting artificial intelligence (“AI”) inventions in biotech and synthetic biology. In this part 2 of the series, we will examine some key considerations and hurdles in patenting machine learning-based biotech or synthetic biology inventions.
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FDA User Fees: How Do They Work?

January 28, 2020 | Blog | By Aaron Josephson

A history of FDA human medical product user fee programs, including those for prescription drugs (PDUFA), generic drugs (GDUFA), biosimilars (BsUFA), and medical devices (MDUFA), their negotiation and reauthorization, and how manufacturers and patients can participate and get involved in the negotiations.
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Health Care Provisions in 2020 Spending Package

January 9, 2020 | Blog | By Aaron Josephson

On December 20, 2019, the President signed into law a bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2020. The bill included several important health care provisions but left some longstanding policy challenges unresolved. Most notable changes to law are the elimination of three Affordable Care Act taxes and the passage of the CREATES Act. Noticeably absent is legislation related to surprise billing and prescription drug pricing. A summary of key health care provisions included in the 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 116-94) follows. We will address the legislative outlook for 2020 in a separate ML Strategies blog post next week.
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