FDA has set a goal to review and act on priority ANDAs two months faster if the submission meets all PFC requirements.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a draft guidance[1], entitled “ANDAs: Pre-Submission Facility Correspondence Associated with Priority Submissions,” that provides recommendations regarding use of a pre-submission facility correspondence process (PFC) to help prospective generic drug applicants reduce approval time for priority abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs), including priority original ANDAs, priority major ANDA amendments and priority ANDA prior approval supplements (PAS).

What Is PFC?

PFC is a mechanism that a prospective generic drug applicant can use to expedite approval of its priority ANDAs by providing FDA with information regarding its manufacturing and bioequivalence facilities. This information will allow FDA to determine whether it needs to inspect the generic drug applicant’s facilities and, if needed, will enable FDA to initiate early inspection planning.

FDA Goals for Standard and Priority ANDAs

FDA has set a goal to review and act on priority ANDAs two months faster if the submission meets all PFC requirements. The table[2] below compares timelines for FDA’s goals regarding various types of submissions with or without PFC.

Submission Type

Goal for FDA to Review and Act on Submission (from Submission Date)

Standard Original ANDAs

90 percent within 10 months

Priority Original ANDAs

90 percent within eight months if the applicant is successful[3] in PFC process

90 percent within 10 months if the applicant does not use PFC process or is unsuccessful in meeting its requirements

Standard Major ANDA Amendments

90 percent within eight months if preapproval inspection is not required

90 percent within 10 months if preapproval inspection is required

Priority Major ANDA Amendments

90 percent within six months if preapproval inspection is not required

90 percent within eight months if preapproval inspection is required and applicant is successful in PFC process

90 percent within 10 months if preapproval inspection is required and applicant is unsuccessful in PFC process

Standard and Priority Minor ANDA Amendments

90 percent within three months

Standard PAS and Standard PAS Major Amendments

90 percent within six months if preapproval inspection is not required

90 percent within 10 months if preapproval inspection is required

Priority PAS and Priority PAS Major Amendments

90 percent within four months if preapproval inspection is not required

90 percent within eight months if preapproval inspection is required and applicant is successful in PFC process

90 percent within 10 months if preapproval inspection is required and applicant is unsuccessful in PFC process

Standard and Priority Minor PAS

90 percent within three months of submission date

FDA’s Guidance

The agency’s guidance “establishes FDA’s expectations for the content, timing, and assessment of the PFC.” A generic drug applicant can benefit from FDA’s shorter goal date for action for its priority ANDA if the facility information in PFC is provided two months ahead of the priority ANDA submission and is complete, accurate and unchanged.

The draft guidance provides detailed instructions for ANDA applicants to follow when submitting PFCs. According to FDA, “[a] complete and accurate PFC allows [it] to begin the facility assessment process in advance of the planned ANDA submission. This critical 2 month lead time provides the Agency the opportunity to determine whether facility inspections will be needed, and when they are, to initiate inspection planning earlier in the review of the ANDA […].”

In order to be complete and accurate, the PFC should include, among other things, a thorough description of the manufacturing process and testing facility, all study information, statement of ANDA eligibility for priority review, bioequivalence summary and site/organization information.[4]

Timing of a PFC submission is critical. If the PFC is submitted less than two months before a priority ANDA, then it will not generally be eligible for FDA’s shorter goal date. Moreover, FDA recommends that “Applicants should submit the [priority] ANDA no more than 3 months after submission of the PFC to reduce the likelihood of changes that result in the loss of eligibility for the shorter goal date.”

Given FDA’s reluctance to allow submissions that do not meet its criteria, it is advisable for ANDA applicants seeking benefit of PFC to follow FDA’s guidelines as closely as possible. If an applicant’s first PFC is denied, the Agency is unlikely to review a second PFC for the same submission.