SILVER SPRING, MD. — On Sept. 15, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its new Animal and Veterinary Innovation Agenda (AVIA) to help modernize its approach to evaluating and supporting the development of innovative animal and veterinary products. From nutrition to animal biotechnology products, the agenda aims to help increase regulatory flexibility, predictability and efficiency for the animal and veterinary industries.

According to Tracey Forfa, J.D., M. Div., director for the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the FDA, the AVIA will support the development of safe and effective new products, help spur innovation, and provide improvements to regulatory pathways for new animal and veterinary products to reach the market.

“The actions laid out in the AVIA will further the agency’s ability to efficiently oversee the diversity of products developed using innovative technologies and facilitate bringing more safe and effective animal health products to the market while protecting human, animal and environmental health,” Forfa wrote in the agenda. “The time is ripe for an innovation agenda.

“Veterinary medicine, animal industries and food production are at an exciting moment where new technologies hold great promise — while global markets, strife, climate change, and increased disease threats mean our food system and animal industries need to become more creative and resilient,” she added.

The AVIA applies to novel food ingredients that work to support an animal’s gut health, cell-cultured animal food ingredients, animal biotechnology products and more.

“Novel technologies brought to the forefront in recent years have the potential to set a new course for the way veterinarians and food producers support human and animal health,” said Robert M. Califf, M.D., commissioner of the FDA. “The FDA is committed to helping developers bring products that enhance public health, animal health and food production to market while providing consumers with confidence that they meet the FDA’s high standards.

“This comprehensive agenda is intended to accelerate smart regulatory pathways and enhance continued public confidence in the FDA’s regulation of these products, while avoiding unnecessary barriers to future industry advancements,” he added.

Through the agenda, the FDA plans to reassess its animal and veterinary product review processes to account for new products developed using innovative technologies. For example, the administration has been working on new regulatory pathways for novel food ingredients (called zootechnical animal food substances) that function in an animal’s gut to improve feed efficiency, reduce waste output and improve human food safety.

According to the FDA, this modernization will allow it to focus on specific products developed using new and emerging technologies and advance the clarity and predictability to its review processes.

The AVIA also commits the CVM to continue its work with the agency’s Office of the Chief Scientist, which supports research and innovation in the health if people and animals. Through the agenda, the FDA will also expand its Veterinary Innovation Program to provide additional features and new tools to assist in product development.

The agenda also details plans for further investments in data modernization to help the CVM scan for emerging technologies and scientific developments that may lead to new animal and veterinary products. In anticipating potential innovations, the agency will be able to adapt its review processes and help reduce delays in first-of-kind product reviews.

“This exciting time of technological advancement is an opportunity to continue modernizing our approaches in ways that both support and spur innovation,” Forfa said. “These new animal and veterinary products have the potential to make a real difference for both human and animal health, and we have the responsibility to ensure they are safe and effective. This agenda will lead us forward, while also protecting public health and ensuring consumer confidence.”

View the full Animal and Veterinary Innovation Agenda.

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