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In Drug design, development and therapy

Introduction : Transdermal drug delivery is gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional routes of administration. It can increase patient compliance because of its painless and noninvasive nature, aid compounds in bypassing presystemic metabolic effects, and reduce the likelihood of adverse effects through decreased systemic exposure. In silico physiological modeling is critical to predicting dermal exposure for a therapeutic and assessing the impact of different formulations on transdermal disposition.

Methods : The present study aimed at developing a physiologically based transdermal platform, "BIOiSIM", that could be globally applied to a wide variety of compounds to predict their transdermal disposition. The platform integrates a 16-compartment model of compound pharmacokinetics and was used to simulate and predict drug exposure of three chemically and biologically distinct drug-like compounds. Machine learning optimization was composed of two components: exhaustive search algorithm (coarse-tuning) and descent (fine-tuning) integrated with the platform used to quantitatively determine parameters influencing pharmacokinetics (eg permeability, kperm) of test compounds.

Results : The model successfully predicted drug exposure (AUC, Cmax and Tmax) following transdermal application of morphine, buprenorphine and nicotine in human subjects, mostly with less than two-fold absolute average fold error (AAFE). The model was further able to successfully characterize the relationship between observed systemic exposure and intended pharmacological effect. The predicted systemic concentration of morphine and plasma levels of endogenous pain biomarkers were used to estimate the effectiveness of a given therapeutic regimen.

Conclusion : BIOiSIM marks a novel approach to in silico prediction that will enable leveraging of machine learning technology in the pharmaceutical space. The approach to model development outlined results in scalable, accurate models and enables the generation of large parameter/coefficient datasets from in vivo clinical data that can be used in future work to train quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR) models for predicting likelihood of compound utility as a transdermally administered therapeutic.

Maharao Neha, Antontsev Victor, Hou Hypatia, Walsh Jason, Varshney Jyotika


BIOiSIM, computational modeling, machine learning, transdermal absorption