Improved Molecular Understanding of Lipid-Based Formulations : for Enabling Oral Delivery of Poorly Water-Soluble Drugs

Sammanfattning: The majority of emerging drug candidates are not suited for conventional oral dosage forms, as they do not dissolve in the aqueous environment of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Consequently, a large number of enabling formulation strategies have emerged. One such strategy is to deliver the drug pre-dissolved in a lipid-based formulation (LBF), thereby bypassing the rate-limiting dissolution step. To date, only about 4% of the marketed oral drugs are delivered as LBFs. The limited use of this strategy is a result of the incomplete understanding of drug solubility in lipid vehicles, the reduced chemical stability of pre-dissolved drug, and the complex interplay between drug and formulation undergoing intestinal lipid processing. Hence, this thesis targeted an improved molecular understanding of lipid-based drug delivery to make an informed formulation development. In the first part of the thesis, drug solubility in LBF excipients and composed formulations was assessed. Through experimental studies of nearly forty compounds in nine excipients drug physicochemical properties related to solubility in these excipients were identified. The obtained data was used to develop in silico tools for prediction of drug solubility in excipients and formulations. The second part of the thesis focused on LBF performance in vitro and in vivo. Factors associated with the type of solid form that is precipitating during digestions was revealed, which provides an initial framework for understanding drug precipitation behaviour under physiological conditions. It was also shown that clinically relevant doses of LBF significantly increases intestinal drug solubilization as a result of GI lipid processing and bile secretion. Moreover, simultaneous assessment of digestion and absorption in vitro provided the same rank order of absorbed drug as the in vivo studies. Coadministration of LBF and drug was shown to be a promising alternative to pre-dissolved drug in the LBF. In summary, this thesis has improved the molecular understanding of factors that govern drug solubility in lipid vehicles and solid form of precipitated drug under digestive conditions. It was also proved that clinically relevant doses of LBFs significantly increase the intestinal drug solubilization, and proof-of-concept was shown for coadministration of LBF with solid drug as an alternative to drug-loaded LBF.