Introduction: Surface engineering of nanocrystals for improving the biopharmaceutical features is a multivariate process involving numerous formulation and process variables, thus making it a complicated process to get the desired biopharmaceutical quality profile. Nano-by-design is hereby proposed as an approach to nanonize an orally active, lipid lowering fenofibrate, to improve feasibility in product development.
Methodology: Top-down wet ball milling (media milling) in zirconia planetary chamber was methodically explored for improving the solubility and bioavailability of fenofibrate by formulating a nanosuspension using polyvinyl alcohol as a stabilizer. Several influencing variables were screened using a systematic one-factor-at-a-time approach. DSC, SEM, XRD, and FTIR were utilized for physical characterization of the product during the development stage and study the effect of milling time, milling speed, fenofibrate: stabilizer ratio, premilling time and stabilizer concentration. Potential risk factors affecting critical quality biopharmaceutical attributes of fenofibrate nanocrystals like size, zeta potential, in vitro release, crystallinity and intrinsic solubility were optimized to improve pharmacokinetic performance.
Result: Formulated nanosized fenofibrate exhibited a crystalize nature as evident from XRD and DSC, 411 nm size, and a rapid but complete dissolution (~99% in 30 min). This resulted into quick onset of action and improved bioavailability as observed from 51.46% shorter Tmax, 82.63% higher Cmax, and 69.34% higher AUC0–24h, respectively.