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Acta Pharm Sin B. 2015 Sep;5(5):442-53. doi: 10.1016/j.apsb.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

Insoluble drug delivery strategies: review of recent advances and business prospects.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Shri Vishnu College of Pharmacy, Bhimavaram 534202, Andhra Pradesh, India.
College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California 91766, USA.


The emerging trends in the combinatorial chemistry and drug design have led to the development of drug candidates with greater lipophilicity, high molecular weight and poor water solubility. Majority of the failures in new drug development have been attributed to poor water solubility of the drug. Issues associated with poor solubility can lead to low bioavailability resulting in suboptimal drug delivery. About 40% of drugs with market approval and nearly 90% of molecules in the discovery pipeline are poorly water-soluble. With the advent of various insoluble drug delivery technologies, the challenge to formulate poorly water soluble drugs could be achieved. Numerous drugs associated with poor solubility and low bioavailabilities have been formulated into successful drug products. Several marketed drugs were reformulated to improve efficacy, safety and patient compliance. In order to gain marketing exclusivity and patent protection for such products, revitalization of poorly soluble drugs using insoluble drug delivery technologies have been successfully adopted by many pharmaceutical companies. This review covers the recent advances in the field of insoluble drug delivery and business prospects.


Bioavailability; Cocrystals; Inclusion complexation; Nanoparticles; Proliposomes; Self-emulsifying formulations; Solubility

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