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Discovery & Development Formulation

Taking a Byte out of Formulation Development

There are a number of technological advances that have helped drive improvements in small-molecule drug design – the sequencing of the human genome, increases in computing power, and high-throughput screening, to name just a few. Receptors and proteins that were once seen as undruggable at the cellular and sub-cellular levels have suddenly become more targetable. But drugs that are ligands for these newer targets are larger and more lipophilic (poorly soluble) than those in the past, introducing more biopharmaceutical and pharmacokinetic (PK) hurdles to optimal oral absorption and bioavailability.

Besides redesigning the chemical structure of the drug molecule, formulation development can help address these challenges. The primary goal of formulation development is to improve drug efficacy and safety by improving solubility and modifying the PK of the drug molecule, particularly absorption.

However, drug formulation is largely an empirical method that requires considerable time, material, and labor. Increasingly, companies want a fast “go/no-go” decision before spending more time and resources on a project. And ideally you want to get the decision right first time. Harnessing the power of in silico modeling and simulation technologies, along with more physiologically relevant, high-quality in vitro studies, should lead to faster formulation development, less attrition, reduced costs, and – most importantly – better treatments for patients. Modeling approaches can identify and predict oral absorption risks or liability factors, so that formulators can address the most pressing issues.

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About the Authors

Ronak Savla

“How many people can truly say that they are working on what they dreamed of as kids? I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.” After learning about the field of nanotechnology as a high school student, Ronak saw the opportunity of combining his interest in science with his passion to help others. Ronak started working in a nanotechnology drug delivery lab during the summer after his freshman year at Rutgers University. He continued developing innovative nanoparticle drug delivery solutions during pharmacy school and graduate school. This has launched him to his current position as the Applied Drug Delivery Fellows at Catalent Pharma Solutions as part of the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship Program.


Julien Meissonnier

Julien Meissonnier is Vice President, Science & Technology at Catalent Pharma Solutions.


Jan Neelissen

Jan Neelissen is Scientific Adviser at Catalent Pharma Solutions

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