Development challenges and regulatory changes for cell and gene therapies

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Cell and gene therapies are the fastest growing area for drug development. The groundwork for this category was laid with the mapping of the human genome in 2003, and the field has developed rapidly in the intervening decades. These powerful therapies have significant potential for the treatment of cancer and other previously “undruggable” diseases. But cell and gene therapies also have unique characteristics that can lead to manufacturing challenges and extended regulatory timelines. As of February 2020, cell and gene therapies account for 12% of the preclinical pipeline and 16% of the clinical pipeline.

Given the scale of investments made to support these development efforts and advancements possible, drug sponsors have looked to the U.S. FDA to consider accelerating gene and cell therapy development. The regulatory body has responded by shifting its departmental structure to st…

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