Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling and simulation in neonatal drug development: how clinicians can contribute

A Smits, P De Cock, A Vermeulen, K Allegaert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)



Legal initiatives to stimulate neonatal drug development should be accompanied by development of valid research tools. Physiologically based (PB)-pharmacokinetic (PK) modeling and simulation are established tools, accepted by regulatory authorities. Consequently, PBPK holds promise to be a strong research tool to support neonatal drug development.

Area covered:

The currently available PBPK models still have poor predictive performance in neonates. Using an illustrative approach on distinct PK processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and real-world data in neonates, we provide evidence on the need to further refine available PBPK system parameters through generation and integration of new knowledge. This necessitates cross talk between clinicians and modelers to integrate knowledge (PK datasets, system knowledge, maturational physiology) or test and refine PBPK models.

Expert opinion:

Besides refining these models for ‘small molecules’, PBPK model development should also be more widely applied for therapeutic proteins and to determine exposure through breastfeeding. Researchers should also be aware that PBPK modeling in combination with clinical observations can also be used to elucidate age-related changes that are almost impossible to study based on in vivo or in vitro data. This approach has been explored for hepatic biliary excretion, renal tubular activity, and central nervous system exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Research programs

  • EMC MM-03-54-04-A


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