Prediction of oral drug bioavailability: from animal-based extrapolation towards the application of physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modelling and simulation

  • Andres Olivares Morales

Student thesis: Phd


The majority of drugs available on the market are intended to be administered through the oral route. To achieve the desired therapeutic effect, an orally administered drug must first reach the systemic circulation and then its site of action. The fraction of the administered drug that reaches the systemic circulation is known as oral bioavailability and it is the product of the absorption and first-pass metabolism processes occurring in both the GI tract and the liver. The factors controlling bioavailability are manifold -both drug and physiologically related - and their complex interplay is key to defining a drug's oral bioavailability. In drug discovery and development it is therefore pivotal to anticipate and understand the bioavailability of a drug candidate; a far from simple task, considering the multifactorial nature of the process. For that reason, the overall aim of this thesis was to provide different modelling and simulation (M&S) strategies that can be used for the prediction of oral bioavailability that can be of use in drug discovery and development. The first part of this thesis was focused on the evaluation of the use of bioavailability data obtained from pre-clinical species as a predictor of the human value, in a more traditional approach. In particular, the aim was to evaluate models that can quantitatively and qualitatively provide a relationship between animal and human bioavailability, by analysing trends in a large bioavailability dataset. This section demonstrated that although pre-clinical species cannot quantitatively predict bioavailability, the data obtained from them can be used for qualitative prediction of the human value. Nevertheless, such a modelling approach does not provide a mechanistic rationale of the factors affecting the bioavailability differences.Consequently, the second part of this thesis was focused on such mechanistic predictions. Particularly, we investigated the impact that drug release patterns can have on drug absorption and intestinal first pass metabolism, taking into account the physiological differences observed across the length of the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These release patterns are suspected to lead to bioavailability differences due to changes in the first-pass metabolism, especially for CYP3A substrates. Therefore we investigated this phenomenon applying a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) M&S approach: firstly, from the discovery point of view, using PBPK models in a prospective fashion to investigating the drug-related factors that might lead to such differences and secondly, from the development point of view, to predict the mechanistic differences in absorption and metabolism of oxybutynin, a drug known for its higher bioavailability when formulated as a modified release (MR) product. The latter was done by developing and applying a novel simplified PBPK model to predict such differences. The results of this work showed that the intestinal metabolism can be significantly reduced when having MR formulations of CYP3A substrates which, in some cases, can lead to higher relative bioavailability. Additionally, this thesis provided novel methods and models that have the potential to improve bioavailability predictions when using PBPK models, in particular for drugs formulated as MR
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAmin Rostami-Hochaghan (Supervisor) & Leon Aarons (Supervisor)


  • gastrointestinal
  • pre-clinical species
  • CYP3A4
  • oxybutynin
  • modelling and simulation
  • physiologically-based pharmacokinetics (PBPK)
  • Oral bioavailability
  • first pass metabolism
  • prediction
  • models

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