Knowledge Center

Article / May 31, 2010

Finding Solutions. Custom manufacturers take on drug solubility issues to help pharmaceutical firms move products through development

C&EN, 31 May, 2010

When they get together, pharmaceutical researchers call drug compounds by nicknames such as “brick dust” and “grease.” Whether compounds are crystalline rocks, lipophilic goo, or something in between, getting them to be water soluble can be a major hurdle for making therapies bioavailable in the body. If the bioavailability is low, meaning only a fraction of a dose gets into circulation, even the best molecule can fail as a drug.

About 40% of marketed drugs are thought to be poorly water soluble. Development efforts might have to be redoubled, however, because between 70 and 90% of drug candidates in the pipeline are believed to have low solubility. In fact, solving solubility problems is considered to be the leading challenge in drug development.