Improving solubility and oral bioavailability of a novel antimalarial prodrug: comparing spray-dried dispersions with self-emulsifying drug delivery systems

Suresh Potharaju, Shravan Kumar Mutyam, Mingtao Liu, Carol Green, Lisa Frueh, Aaron Nilsen, Sovitj Pou, Rolf Winter, Michael K. Riscoe, Gita Shankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To improve the solubility and oral bioavailability of a novel antimalarial agent ELQ-331(a prodrug of ELQ-300), spray-dried dispersions (SDD) and a self-emulsifying drug delivery system (SEDDS) were developed. SDD were prepared with polyvinyl caprolactam-polyvinyl acetate-polyethylene glycol graft copolymer (Soluplus®) polymer carrier and Aeroperl® 300 Pharma and characterized by differential scanning calorimetry, powder X-ray diffraction. For SEDDS, solubility in oils, surfactants, and co-surfactants was determined and ternary phase diagram was constructed to show self-emulsifying area. SEDDS were characterized for spontaneous emulsification and droplet size distribution. The amorphous ELQ-331 SDD improved the solubility to 10× in fast-state simulated intestinal fluid and addition of sodium lauryl sulphate externally to SDDs further improved the solubility to ∼28.5× versus non-formulated drug. SEDDS had good self-emulsifying characteristics with small emulsion droplet sizes and narrow particle distribution. Oral pharmacokinetic studies for SDD and SEDDS formulations were performed in rats. The ELQ-331 rapidly converted to ELQ-300 soon after oral administration in rats. Exposure levels of ELQ-300 were about 1.4-fold higher (based on AUC) in SEDDS than SDD formulations. Poorly soluble drugs like ELQ-331 can be formulated using SDD or SEDDS to improve solubility and oral bioavailability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-639
Number of pages15
JournalPharmaceutical Development and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 27 2020



  • Antimalarial drugs
  • amorphous form
  • oral bioavailability
  • self-emulsifying drug delivery systems (SEDDS)
  • spray-dried dispersions (SDD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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