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10-K
SERES THERAPEUTICS, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/06/2019
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Phase 3 — Phase 3 clinical trials typically involve administration of the investigational product to an expanded patient population to further evaluate dosage, to provide statistically significant evidence of clinical efficacy and to further test for safety, generally at multiple geographically dispersed clinical trial sites. These clinical trials are intended to establish the overall risk/benefit ratio of the investigational product and to provide an adequate basis for product approval.

In some cases, the FDA may condition approval of a BLA on the sponsor’s agreement to conduct additional clinical trials to further assess the biologic’s safety and effectiveness after BLA approval. Such post-approval clinical trials are typically referred to as Phase 4 clinical trials.

Although most clinical research performed in the United States in support of a BLA must be authorized in advance by the FDA, under the IND regulations and procedures described above, there are certain circumstances under which clinical trials can be conducted without submission of an IND. For example, a sponsor who wishes to conduct a clinical trial outside the United States may, but need not, obtain FDA authorization to conduct the clinical trial under an IND. Similarly, the FDA may exercise enforcement discretion to permit sponsors to conduct certain types of clinical investigations without an IND. Pursuant to the FDA guidance document “Enforcement Policy Regarding Investigational New Drug Requirements for Use of Fecal Microbiota for Transplantation to Treat Clostridium difficile Infection Not Responsive to Standard Therapies” (July 2013), the FDA announced its intention to exercise enforcement discretion and not apply the IND requirements for the use of FMT to treat CDI not responsive to standard therapies, provided that the treating physician obtains adequate informed consent from the patient or his or her legally authorized representative for the use of FMT products. In March 2014, the FDA issued a draft guidance document to clarify its Enforcement Policy in the July 2013 guidance.  In the March 2014 draft guidance, the FDA noted that since the issuance of its Enforcement Policy in July 2013, it has continued to review its policies in this area and it intends to continue to exercise enforcement discretion in more narrow circumstances than previously identified.  Specifically, the March 2014 draft guidance indicated the FDA’s intent to limit enforcement discretion in circumstances where the licensed health care professional treating the patient obtains adequate informed consent from the patient or his or her legally authorized representative for the use of FMT products; the FMT product is obtained from a donor known to either the patient or the licensed health care provider; and the stool donor and stool are qualified by screening and testing performed under the discretion of the licensed health care provider for the purposes of providing the FMT product.  Following receipt of public comments on the March 2014 draft guidance proposing to modify the July 2013 Enforcement Policy, the FDA issued a new draft guidance in March 2016 announcing its intention to further modify its approach to enforcement discretion for INDs for the use of FMT products.  In this draft guidance, the FDA indicated that it intends to continue to exercise enforcement discretion, provided that the licensed health care professional treating the patient obtains adequate informed consent for use of the FMT product; the FMT product is not obtained from a stool bank; and the stool donor and stool are qualified by screening and testing performed under the direction of the licensed health care provider for purposes of providing the FMT product to treat his or her patient.   The FDA further clarified in the March 2016 that, when finalized, the policy would supersede the final Enforcement Policy espoused in the July 2013 Guidance.  However, to date, the FDA has not finalized the March 2016 draft guidance.  The FDA provided confirmation to us that it intended to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to our Phase 1b/2 clinical study of SER-109, and accordingly, we did not conduct this trial under an IND. However, we have conducted and will continue to conduct all subsequent clinical studies of SER-109 under an IND.

Concurrent with clinical trials, companies usually complete additional animal studies and must also develop additional information about the chemistry and physical characteristics of the biologic and finalize a process for manufacturing the biologic in commercial quantities in accordance with cGMP requirements. The manufacturing process must be capable of consistently producing quality batches of the product candidate and manufacturers must develop, among other things, methods for testing the identity, strength, quality and purity of the final biological product. Additionally, appropriate packaging must be selected and tested, and stability studies must be conducted to demonstrate that the product candidate does not undergo unacceptable deterioration over its shelf life.

BLA Submission and FDA Review

The results of preclinical studies and clinical trials, together with other detailed information, including extensive manufacturing information and information on the composition of the biologic, are submitted to the FDA in the form of a BLA requesting approval to market the biologic for one or more specified indications. The submission of a BLA requires payment of a substantial user fee unless a waiver is granted. However, an orphan-designated product, such as our SER-109, is not subject to an application user fee unless the human drug application includes an indication for other than a rare disease or condition. Each BLA submitted to the FDA is reviewed for administrative completeness and reviewability within 60 days of the FDA’s receipt of the application. If the BLA is found to be complete, the FDA will file the BLA, triggering a full review of the application. The FDA may refuse to file any BLA that it deems incomplete or not properly reviewable at the time of submission.

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