Mesoporous silicas (SLC) have demonstrated considerable potential to improve bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs by facilitating rapid dissolution and generating supersaturation. The addition of certain polymers can further enhance the dissolution of these formulations by preventing drug precipitation. This study uses fenofibrate as a model drug to investigate the performance of an SLC-based formulation, delivered with hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate (HPMCAS) as a precipitation inhibitor, in pigs. The ability of biorelevant dissolution testing to predict the in vivo performance was also assessed.
Fenofibrate-loaded mesoporous silica (FF-SLC), together with HPMCAS, displayed significant improvements in biorelevant dissolution tests relative to a reference formulation consisting of a physical mixture of crystalline fenofibrate with HPMCAS. In vivo assessment in fasted pigs demonstrated bioavailabilities of 86.69 ± 35.37% with combination of FF-SLC and HPMCAS in capsule form and 75.47 ± 14.58% as a suspension, compared to 19.92 ± 9.89% with the reference formulation. A positive correlation was identified between bioavailability and dissolution efficiency.
The substantial improvements in bioavailability of fenofibrate from the SLC-based formulations confirm the ability of this formulation strategy to overcome the dissolution and solubility limitations, further raising the prospects of a future commercially available SLC-based formulation.