Equivalence-by-Design: Targeting In Vivo Drug Delivery Profile

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In the United States (U.S.), drug products are considered therapeutically equivalent if they meet regulatory criteria of pharmaceutical equivalence and bioequivalence. These requirements can be traced back to 1977 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the regulations on bioavailability and bioequivalence. Over the years, to keep up with the advancement in science and technology, the FDA has been constantly updating the regulatory approaches to assessing and ensuring equivalence. In view of the recent growth in novel pharmaceutical dosage forms and delivery systems, this paper examines the current framework for documentation of therapeutic equivalence and explores the opportunities of further advancing equivalence methods for complex drug products. It is proposed that equivalence may be established by matching the in vivo drug delivery profile (iDDP) between drug products in comparison. This can be achieved by characterizing the iDDP of the reference formulation with application of an equivalence-by-design approach for pharmaceutical development. Critical variables can be identified to serve as in vitro markers or biomarkers for mapping the desired drug delivery profile in vivo. A multidisciplinary approach may be necessary to develop these markers for characterization of iDDPs.

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