Gaining a Pulse on Formulation and Drug Delivery Challenges and Technologies - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

Gaining a Pulse on Formulation and Drug Delivery Challenges and Technologies
A recent survey examines the industry's views on the chief challenges and technologies in drug delivery and formulation development.


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 36, Issue 4

Introducing technology

The survey also asked how new drug-delivery technologies and solutions were typically introduced into a company. Almost two-thirds of respondents said new technologies are introduced through their companies' internal R&D department, the leading way by which new technologies are introduced. Partnerships also constitute an important vehicle for gaining access to and knowledge of drug-delivery technologies. With respect to partnerships, the survey showed that:

  • 43% of respondents said new technology is introduced into their companies by an outsourcing service provider
  • More than one-third introduce technologies through academic research
  • Almost one third use collaboration and brainstorm sessions
  • Almost one-quarter use key opinion leaders and advisory boards.

Dosage forms




A majority of survey respondents were primarily involved with oral solid dosage forms, and approximately 40% were primarily involved with parenteral forms. For those involved with oral solid dosage forms, tablets were the most active area of focus. More than 70% of respondents involved with oral solid dosage forms are currently working on a project involving tablets or expect to have a project involving tablets in the future. Powder-filled capsules and combination products were the next leading areas of current and planned project work.

Challenges in oral solid dosage forms

As in drug-delivery and formulation development overall, bioavailability and solubility were major challenges identified by respondents working with oral solid dosage forms. Three-fourths of respondents identified bioavailability as a current or past challenge. Dissolution, stability, and drug-release profile also were key issues. Dissolution was cited as a current or past challenge by 78% of respondents, closely followed by solubility (77%), stability (76%), and drug-release profile (71%).

Evaluating technologies

Given these challenges, the survey asked respondents to evaluate available technologies in resolving these problems for oral dosage forms. Dissolution, which was ranked as the number one challenge, was also an area in which respondents felt that existing technology was fairly good. One quarter of respondents said current technology was "excellent," and 43.7% said available technologies were "very good." Respondents also were fairly positive about the utility of existing technologies for resolving problems in solubility and bioavailability. Almost one quarter of the respondents said that technologies for addressing solubility were "excellent" and 38.6% said they were "very good." Bioavailability, however, was more challenging. Only 17.7% of respondents said that technologies for addressing bioavailability were "excellent," and nearly 26% said the technologies were "very good."

The survey also asked respondents to evaluate technologies for specific dosage/product forms. There was large satisfaction with technologies for the mainstay of oral solid dosage forms, traditional tablets. Nearly three-fourths of respondents said technologies for tablets were "excellent" or "very good." The survey also showed that:

  • 54% of respondents said that technologies for matrix tablets were "excellent" or "very good"
  • 53% said that technology for fast-dissolving or orally disintegrating tablets were "excellent" or "very good."


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