Today, early characterization of drug properties by the Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS) has attracted significant attention in pharmaceutical discovery and development. In this direction, the present report provides a systematic study of the development of a BCS-based provisional classification (PBC) for a set of 322 oral drugs. This classification, based on the revised aqueous solubility and the apparent permeability across Caco-2 cell monolayers, displays a high correlation (overall 76%) with the provisional BCS classification published by World Health Organization (WHO). Current database contains 91 (28.3%) PBC class I drugs, 76 (23.6%) class II drugs, 97 (31.1%) class III drugs, and 58 (18.0%) class IV drugs. Other approaches for provisional classification of drugs have been surveyed. The use of a calculated polar surface area with a labetalol value as a high permeable cutoff limit and aqueous solubility higher than 0.1 mg/mL could be used as alternative criteria for provisionally classifying BCS permeability and solubility in early drug discovery. To develop QSPR models that allow screening PBC and BCS classes of new molecular entities (NMEs), 18 statistical linear and nonlinear models have been constructed based on 803 0-2D Dragon and 126 Volsurf+ molecular descriptors to classify the PBC solubility and permeability. The voting consensus model of solubility (VoteS) showed a high accuracy of 88.7% in training and 92.3% in the test set. Likewise, for the permeability model (VoteP), accuracy was 85.3% in training and 96.9% in the test set. A combination of VoteS and VoteP appropriately predicts the PBC class of drugs (overall 73% with class I precision of 77.2%). This consensus system predicts an external set of 57 WHO BCS classified drugs with 87.5% of accuracy. Interestingly, computational assignments of the PBC class reasonably correspond to the Biopharmaceutics Drug Disposition Classification System (BDDCS) allocations of drugs (accuracy of 63.3-69.8%). A screening assay has been simulated using a large data set of compounds in different drug development phases (1, 2, 3, and launched) and NMEs. Distributions of PBC forecasts illustrate the current status in drug discovery and development. It is anticipated that a combination of the QSPR approach and well-validated in vitro experimentations could offer the best estimation of BCS for NMEs in the early stages of drug discovery.
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Since its inception in 1995, the biopharmaceutical classification system (BCS) has become an increasingly important tool for regulation of drug products world-wide. Until now, application of the BCS has been partially hindered by the lack of a freely available and accurate database summarising solubility and permeability characteristics of drug substances. In this report, orally administered drugs on the Model list of Essential Medicines of the World Health Organization (WHO) are assigned BCS classifications on the basis of data available in the public domain. Of the 130 orally administered drugs on the WHO list, 61 could be classified with certainty. Twenty-one (84%) of these belong to class I (highly soluble, highly permeable), 10 (17%) to class II (poorly soluble, highly permeable), 24 (39%) to class III (highly soluble, poorly permeable) and 6 (10%) to class IV (poorly soluble, poorly permeable). A further 28 drugs could be provisionally assigned, while for 41 drugs insufficient or conflicting data precluded assignment to a specific BCS class. A total of 32 class I drugs (either certain or provisional classification) were identified. These drugs can be further considered for biowaiver status (drug product approval based on dissolution tests rather than bioequivalence studies in humans).
Generally, bioequivalence (BE) studies of drug products for pediatric patients are conducted in adults due to ethical reasons. Given the lack of direct BE assessment in pediatric populations, the aim of this work is to develop a database of BE and relative bioavailability (relative BA) studies conducted in pediatric populations and to enable the identification of risk factors associated with certain drug substances or products that may lead to failed BE or different pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters in relative BA studies in pediatrics. A literature search from 1965 to 2020 was conducted in PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar to identify BE studies conducted in pediatric populations and relative BA studies conducted in pediatric populations. Overall, 79 studies covering 37 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) were included in the database: 4 bioequivalence studies with data that passed BE evaluations; 2 studies showed bioinequivalence results; 34 relative BA studies showing comparable PK parameters, and 39 relative BA studies showing differences in PK parameters between test and reference products. Based on the above studies, common putative risk factors associated with differences in relative bioavailability (DRBA) in pediatric populations include age-related absorption effects, high inter-individual variability, and poor study design. A database containing 79 clinical studies on BE or relative BA in pediatrics has been developed. Putative risk factors associated with DRBA in pediatric populations are summarized.
A total of 79 clinical studies containing data from pediatric populations were identified using the search terms listed above and applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria (Supplementary Material 1, database for relative BA and BE studies in pediatrics). Subsequently, a total of 41 studies with DRBA results between test and reference products remained for further analysis (Supplementary Material 2, risk factor summary). The 41 studies included 2 BE studies and 39 relative BA studies that showed disparities in PK properties when test and reference produces were compared.
The data shows that the proportion of those drugs showing DRBA that were NTI drugs is highest in the BCS 2 and then followed by 3 and 1 (highly soluble) classifications. This may be expected, as highly soluble drugs are more likely to show equivalence than BCS class 2 drugs. This is further supported by the U.S. FDA guidelines on waiver of in vivo BA and BE studies for immediate release solid oral dosage forms based on BCS class 1 and 3 system and also it is mentioned that the BCS-based biowaivers are not applicable for NTI drugs (and products designed to be absorbed in the oral cavity) (113, 114).
A comparison of the relative frequency risk factors for the studies is presented in Fig. 1. These are shown based on their pediatric BCS and non-NTI and NTI classification to identify where risks were most prevalent. Fig. 1 demonstrates that BCS class 2 drugs occupy the largest percentage of the DRBA cases where risk factors of age-related absorption effect, drug substance/drug product effect, and high inter- and intra-variabilities are identified.
A database containing clinical studies on BE or relative BA in pediatrics has been developed and putative risk factors resulting in different relative BA are summarized. Only two publications were found that claimed to contain failed bioequivalence studies in a pediatric population. The vast majority of pediatric data comes from relative bioavailability studies of different formulations. Analysis of the developed database has highlighted that particular care is needed for BCS class 2 drugs when assessing BE in pediatrics. Additional work is warranted to use in vitro and in silico models for evaluating subtle changes in GI physiology that can affect the absorption of drugs in pediatric populations, particularly GI volume, motility, and transit times.
This system restricts the prediction using the parameters solubility and intestinal permeability. The solubility classification is based on a United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) aperture. The intestinal permeability classification is based on a comparison to the intravenous injection. All those factors are highly important because 85% of the most sold drugs in the United States and Europe are orally administered.
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