A generic whole body physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for therapeutic proteins in PK-Sim

J Pharmacokinet Pharmacodyn. 2018 Apr;45(2):235-257. doi: 10.1007/s10928-017-9559-4. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


Proteins are an increasingly important class of drugs used as therapeutic as well as diagnostic agents. A generic physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model was developed in order to represent at whole body level the fundamental mechanisms driving the distribution and clearance of large molecules like therapeutic proteins. The model was built as an extension of the PK-Sim model for small molecules incorporating (i) the two-pore formalism for drug extravasation from blood plasma to interstitial space, (ii) lymph flow, (iii) endosomal clearance and (iv) protection from endosomal clearance by neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) mediated recycling as especially relevant for antibodies. For model development and evaluation, PK data was used for compounds with a wide range of solute radii. The model supports the integration of knowledge gained during all development phases of therapeutic proteins, enables translation from pre-clinical species to human and allows predictions of tissue concentration profiles which are of relevance for the analysis of on-target pharmacodynamic effects as well as off-target toxicity. The current implementation of the model replaces the generic protein PBPK model available in PK-Sim since version 4.2 and becomes part of the Open Systems Pharmacology Suite.

Keywords: Antibodies; Biologics; PBPK; Physiologically based pharmacokinetic modelling; Therapeutic proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Biological
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Proteins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Fc / metabolism
  • Small Molecule Libraries / pharmacokinetics
  • Tissue Distribution / genetics*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Fc receptor, neonatal