Sample pooling to expedite bioanalysis and pharmacokinetic research

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 1998 Jan;16(5):837-46. doi: 10.1016/s0731-7085(97)00133-7.


In the progression from drug discovery to development, not only pharmacokinetic (PK) characterization needed for lead compound selection often becomes a rate-limiting step, but also high volume of routine sample analysis ensued from numerous required biodisposition studies for the lead compounds and their back-ups often place a burdensome hurdle to the throughput of IND and NDA development phases. Higher throughput of PK screening via cocktail dosing has been reported to accelerate PK screening in the discovery phase. However, concerns on drug-drug interactions and other limitations associated with the cocktail M-in-One dosing (multiple compounds per dose per animal) has prompted the present investigation of sample pooling alongside One-in-One dosing strategy (one compound per dose per animal) as an alternative to the cocktail dosing approach. Using traditional HPLC for bioanalysis as an example, the present study illustrate the concept and usefulness of sample pooling that could facilitate the throughput of PK screening and characterization in both discovery and development phases. Six proprietary dopamine D4 receptor antagonist preleads representing three different chemical classes, used as model compounds (C1-C6), were administered orally to rats. One rat received one compound and three rats were used for each compound. Six unknown plasma samples from six different rats at each time point were pooled. The pooled plasma samples were extracted by a one-step liquid-liquid extraction and concentrations of the six preleads were quantitated simultaneously. By sample pooling, a substantial amount of PK information was obtained at the same time for the six preleads, which requires much less workload than when bioanalysis is dealt with one compound at a time. For the first time in one aspect of innovative bioanalysis, the present investigation has demonstrated that sample pooling following One-in-One dosing can be utilized to enhance the throughput rate in PK screening in discovery phase. The sample pooling approach is likely to be useful in enhancing the throughput of PK characterization in development phase. With the advent of LC-MS and its becoming user-friendly, where separation of drug compounds is no longer an issue, the uniqueness of sample pooling may also pose a new way of thinking in regard to the old ways of handling bioanalysis for traditional PK research.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / blood
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Dopamine Antagonists / blood
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacokinetics*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Drd4 protein, rat
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Receptors, Dopamine D4