Rapid Bioavailability and Disposition protocol: A novel higher throughput approach to assess pharmacokinetics and steady-state brain distribution with reduced animal usage

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Besides routine pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters, unbound brain-to-blood concentration ratio (Kp,uu) is an index particularly crucial in drug discovery for central nervous system (CNS) indications. Despite advantages of Kp,uu from steady state after constant intravenous (i.v.) infusion compared with one- or multiple time points after transient dosing, it is seldom obtained for compound optimization in early phase of CNS drug discovery due to requirement of prerequisite PK data to inform the study design. Here, we designed a novel rat in vivo PK protocol, dubbed as Rapid Bioavailability and Disposition (RBD), which combined oral (p.o.) dosing and i.v. infusion to obtain steady-state brain penetration, along with blood clearance, oral exposure and oral bioavailability for each discovery compound, within a 24 hour in-life experiment and only a few (e.g., 3) animals. Protocol validity was verified through simulations with a range of PK parameters in compartmental models as well as data comparison for nine compounds with distinct PK profiles. PK parameters (Kp,brain, CLb and oral AUC) measured from the RBD protocol for all compounds, were within two-fold and/or statistically similar to those derived from conventional i.v./p.o. crossover PK studies. Our data clearly indicates that the RBD protocol offers reliable and reproducible data over a wide range of PK properties, with reduced turnaround time and animal usage.Graphical abstract

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