FDA publishes new Guidance on Validation of Analytical Methods

A new FDA Guidance for Industry entitled "Analytical Procedures and Methods Validation for Drugs and Biologics" was published a few days ago. This Guideline replaces the Guidance for Industry "Analytical Procedures and Methods Validation" from 2000 (this document has never been finalised and has had a draft status 14 years long) and - when finalised - should also replace the "Guidelines for Submitting Samples and Analytical Data for Methods Validation" which came into force in 1987.

Unlike the previous Guideline from 2000, the new document explicitly mentions biologics in its title. The objective of the Guideline is to inform applicants about what data are expected by the FDA in marketing authorisation dossiers. The provisions of the Guideline apply to new drug applications (NDAs), abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs), biologics license applications (BLAs), and variation applications regarding these types of application, as well as to Type II Drug Master Files. The Guideline can't be directly used for investigational new drug applications (INDs) as the scope of data with regard to analytical procedures and methods validation varies with the development phase. Nevertheless, IND applicants should orientate themselves to the provisions of the new Guideline.

When comparing it with the former and now invalid "Methods Validation" Guidance, it is apparent that the Draft Guidance has been kept much shorter. There are no detailed descriptions available: for example the table about recommended validation parameters for different analytical tests has been deleted without substitution. Yet, new chapters have been added, like chapter "VIII. Life cycle management of analytical procedures" and its following chapter on the verification of analytical methods in FDA's own laboratories ("IX: FDA methods verification").

The document contains plenty of cross-references to corresponding 21 CFR paragraphs and provides - in the last chapter "X. References" - an extensive list of essential FDA Guidelines which also have to be considered in this context, as well as references to corresponding USP chapters, and technical literature on statistical topics. The fact that many aspects of methods validation are addressed in those referenced Guidelines explains the reason why the new Guidance has become shorter.

The document can be commented within 90 days.

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