Translational learning from clinical studies predicts drug pharmacokinetics across patient populations

NPJ Syst Biol Appl. 2017 Mar 28;3:11. doi: 10.1038/s41540-017-0012-5. eCollection 2017.


Early indication of late-stage failure of novel candidate drugs could be facilitated by continuous integration, assessment, and transfer of knowledge acquired along pharmaceutical development programs. We here present a translational systems pharmacology workflow that combines drug cocktail probing in a specifically designed clinical study, physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling, and Bayesian statistics to identify and transfer (patho-)physiological and drug-specific knowledge across distinct patient populations. Our work builds on two clinical investigations, one with 103 healthy volunteers and one with 79 diseased patients from which we systematically derived physiological information from pharmacokinetic data for a reference probe drug (midazolam) at the single-patient level. Taking into account the acquired knowledge describing (patho-)physiological alterations in the patient cohort allowed the successful prediction of the population pharmacokinetics of a second, candidate probe drug (torsemide) in the patient population. In addition, we identified significant relations of the acquired physiological processes to patient metadata from liver biopsies. The presented prototypical systems pharmacology approach is a proof of concept for model-based translation across different stages of pharmaceutical development programs. Applied consistently, it has the potential to systematically improve predictivity of pharmacokinetic simulations by incorporating the results of clinical trials and translating them to subsequent studies.