Home 5 Diagnostic Testing and Emerging Technologies 5 New Breakthrough Device Designations Fall 37 Percent in 2022

New Breakthrough Device Designations Fall 37 Percent in 2022

by | Feb 22, 2023

According to the FDA’s recently-released annual report, only 135 devices received the designation last year, versus 213 in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on the development of new laboratory products that do not target the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to the newly released 2022 Annual Report from the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), only 135 medical devices received breakthrough device designation last year, 37 percent fewer than the 213 breakthrough designations CDRH awarded in 2021. However, the number of breakthrough devices that have received marketing authorization increased from 13 to 19.1

The FDA Breakthrough Devices Program

The Breakthrough Devices Program is a voluntary initiative that enables manufacturers of certain medical devices and device-led combination products to interact with and get feedback from the FDA’s experts on issues that may arise during the premarket review phase. In addition to helping resolve potential bottlenecks in premarket, 510(k), and De Novo review, manufacturers that participate in the program generally get prioritized review for their submissions. The result is quicker clearance and earlier access for patients and providers to novel medical devices and combination products.

Established in 2015 to replace the Expedited Access Pathway (EAP) and Priority Review for medical devices, use of the Breakthrough Devices Program had been steadily growing in each year of its existence. However, after peaking in 2021, designations declined for the first time in 2022.

Number of Granted Breakthrough Device Designations by Fiscal Year*

Source: Recreated from the FDA Breakthrough Devices Program website.2 Note that the above graph based on the FDA webpage accessed February 21, 2023, reflects data by fiscal year through September 30, 2022, while the 2022 CDRH Annual Report provides data by calendar year through December 31, 2022.
*Numbers include devices originally designated under the EAP, as well as designations not granted by CDRH.

Overall, 752 devices have received breakthrough device designation since the program’s inception, including 728 from CDRH and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). The report does not offer an explanation for last year’s decline, other than to note in general that 2022 was “another year of heavy workload and strained resources” for the agency. Meanwhile, CDRH says it has “made enormous strides in reducing” the backlog in reviews caused by the pandemic and reiterates that it is shifting its focus to helping companies transition from COVID-19 conditions.

The report of declines in new breakthrough device designations comes at a time when the FDA has been reassessing program criteria. In October 2022, the agency published proposed new draft guidance to incorporate a new factor into its decision about whether to recognize a product as a breakthrough device: healthcare equity and access.3 According to the guidance, for designation purposes, products that are accessible to underserved and underrepresented populations would likely be deemed as providing “more effective treatment or diagnosis” than existing options. (For more, see “Want Breakthrough Device Designation? You’ll Need to Consider Health Equity,” DTET, December 2022).4


    1. https://www.fda.gov/media/164837/download

    1. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/how-study-and-market-your-device/breakthrough-devices-program

    1. https://www.fda.gov/media/162413/download

  1. https://www.g2intelligence.com/want-breakthrough-device-designation-youll-need-to-consider-health-equity/


Here are the key new laboratory testing and diagnostics product clearances that were announced from mid-January to mid-February 2023:

New FDA Approvals & Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs)

Guardant HealthApproval of Guardant360 CDx liquid biopsy assay as companion diagnostic to identify individuals with ESR1 mutant breast cancer who may benefit from treatment with Menarini’s Orserdu (elacestrant)
Shanghai Genext Medical Technology510(k) clearance for Tacrolimus Assay Kit
BioMérieux510(k) clearance for VITEK 2 AST-Gram Positive Moxifloxacin assay
Thermo Fisher Scientific510(k) clearance for Sensititre YeastOne Susceptibility System
Becton Dickinson510(k) clearance for BD Veritor System for Rapid Detection of Flu A+B CLIA-waived kit
QiagenPremarket approval for use of Sodium Heparin tubes as blood collection alternative with Quantiferon TB Gold Plus Test
MicronomaBreakthrough device designation for OncobiotaLung blood-based test categorizing lung nodules into high or low risk of malignancy
Scope Molecular LaboratoryEUA for SARS nCoV-2019 Multiplexed Assay RT-PCR test for serial COVID-19 testing
Selux Diagnostics510(k) clearance for Next Generation Phenotyping (NGP) System along with test panel to determine antimicrobial susceptibility of gram-positive bacteria
Cytovale510(k) clearance for IntelliSep test for early detection of sepsis
DiaCartaEUA for QuantiVirus MPXV Test Kit, monkeypox PCR test
Prenetics GlobalClearance for ACTOnco, a comprehensive genomic profiling test for solid tumors developed by ACT Genomics

Global Report

Europe: New Product Approvals in Europe

AbbottTactiFlex Sensor Enabled Ablation Catheter for treating arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation (AFib)
Infinity NeuroInspira aspiration catheters for treating stroke
Geneseeq TechnologyShielding multi-cancer minimal residual disease detection (MRD) kit
Geneseeq TechnologyMERCURY multi-cancer early detection (MCED) kit
MedMiraVyra CoV2Flu Antigen Test combination assay for SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A and B


Other international clearances announced during the period:

Beijing Genome Precision Technology (Bionano Genomics’ Chinese manufacturing partner)ChinaClass I registrations for Bionano’s DNA extraction kit and labeling products
PanageneKoreaOncoTector KRAS mutation test kit approved as grade 3 companion diagnostic to support non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment Lumakras (ingredient: sotorasib)
SysmexJapanBlood-based HISCL β-Amyloid 1-42 Assay Kit and HISCL β-Amyloid 1-40 Assay Kit for Alzheimer’s disease

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