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Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic Research

Delivering the right dose of a prescribed medicine to the right patient

The Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic research (CAPKR) is a consortium of academic researchers at The University of Manchester and seven industrial pharmaceutical companies.

Our mission is to understand what happens to drugs when they enter the body – where they go, how they are metabolised and how quickly. In particular, we seek to understand how differences of genetics, lifestyle and disease affect what happens to drugs.

This understanding leads to more appropriate drugs and dosing for each patient (so called 'precision medicine') and more economic use of drugs by the NHS and other healthcare providers.

What we do

  • We quantify the proteins responsible for the metabolism and transport of drugs in the body, by various proteomic methodologies, mainly based on tandem mass spectrometry.
  • We determine activities of human and animal drug metabolising enzymes and transporters using different in vitro systems. We use in silico models to extrapolate from in vitro to in vivo (IVIVE).
  • We use such models to predict pharmacokinetic parameters for different drugs in different groups of patients.
  • We determine effective, safe and economical dose regimes for different groups of patients.
Innovative technologies in medicine.
 

Our industry collaborators

The CAPKR industrial consortium was established in 1996 to generate a centre of excellence in research and training of pharmacokinetics, and engage in problems of interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

Our current industry partners include:

Certara

CERTARA logo

Certara enables superior drug development and patient care decision-making through model-informed drug development, regulatory science, real-world evidence solutions and knowledge integration.

As a result, it optimises research and development productivity, commercial value and patient outcomes.

Its clients include hundreds of global biopharmaceutical companies, leading academic institutions, and key regulatory agencies across 60 countries.

Certara-sponsored project

Quantification of transporters in the human blood-brain barrier

The eventual aim of this project is to build quantitative systems pharmacology models of the human blood-brain-barrier (BBB) in healthy and diseased patients (such as those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease).

To this end, we have conducted the most comprehensive studies to date of transporter abundance in both the rat (Al Feteisi et al 2018, J. Neurochem 146: 670-685) and human brain (Al Majdoub et al, submitted).

This project is supported through a Simcyp Grant and Partnership award to Dr Jill Barber and Dr Brahim Achour (CAPKR). 

The post-doctoral investigator is Dr Zubida Al-Majdoub.

Merck

MERCK logo

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. As the largest of Merck’s three business sectors, Merck Healthcare has about 20,000 employees around the world work in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Latin America and is dedicated to driving innovation in science and technology for real improvement of patients' lives.

The biopharma portfolio of the healthcare sector focuses on the therapeutic areas of oncology, neurology, immunology, fertility, general medicine and endocrinology.

Merck-sponsored project

PBPK models of gastrointestinal and hepatic cancers

Cancer patients are characterised by high drug exposure variability.

The aim of this project is to create virtual cancer patient populations, in order to understand the variability of drug metabolism in cancer patients, and predict the disease impact on the gastrointestinal and hepatic cancers.

This will be achieved firstly through the quantification of DMEs and transporters by using LC-MS/MS.

These measurements will be incorporated into PBPK models and the models will be validated by the assessment of the disease impact on small molecule anti-cancer drugs. The overall accomplishment will be the improvement of cancer population profiles in existing PBPK models.

Project by PhD student Areti Vasilogianni.

Supervisors: Dr Sheila-Annie Peters (Merck), Professor Amin Rostami, Dr Adam Darwich, Dr Jill Barber (CAPKR).

Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Takeda logo

Takeda Pharmaceuticals is a global company with a 236 year long, rich drug discovery and development history. Takeda always conducts drug discovery/ business based on its core values (Takeda-isms) and priorities.

Takeda-ism (integrity, fairness, honesty, perseverance) and the four priorities (patient, trust, reputation, business) are deeply ingrained in Takeda’s ways of working to ensure its commitment to quality and that Takeda does the right thing – at all times.

Takeda focuses on four major therapeutic areas including neuroscience, gastroenterology, vaccines, and oncology. An additional therapeutic area, rare diseases, will soon be added to Takeda’s portfolio. Takeda is and will continue to aspire to bring better health and a brighter future for people worldwide.

MSD

MSD logo

 

For more than a century, MSD has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions and advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and animals around the world.

The Department of Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Drug Metabolism within MSD seeks to bridge in vitro and preclinical knowledge to human drug exposure and response across all stages of drug development.

To this end, we are collaborating with CAPKR to find innovative solutions for challenging problems in translational research.

Genentech

Genentech logo

 

A member of the Roche Group, Genentech has been at the forefront of the biotechnology industry for more than 40 years, using human genetic information to develop novel medicines for serious and life-threatening diseases. Genentech has multiple therapies on the market for cancer & other serious illnesses.

The Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) group at Genentech is dedicated to enabling the discovery, development and commercialization of safe and effective medicines by elucidating the absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and pharmacokinetic properties of small molecule drug candidates. We accomplish this through the application of state of the art technologies, leveraging both internal and external collaborations.

Potential industrial partners

If you would like to work with us, please contact the centre directors Professor Amin Rostami and Dr Alex Galetin.

 

pharmaceutical factory woman worker operating production line at pharmacy industry manufacture factory
 

Featured projects

CAPKR has around 10 post-doctoral associates, 20 PhD students and several visitors working on various projects related to our mission. Here are just a few of them.

Low-turnover drugs

Optimising prediction of clearance for low-turnover drugs

Metabolic turnover of prospective drug compounds which are slowly cleared is difficult to quantify.

Recent progress in long term hepatocyte culture systems, experimental methodology for resolution of drug uptake and metabolism, together with cross species approaches will be explored for a prototypical panel of drugs with the intention of integrating and optimising these emerging methodologies.

A two-year postdoctoral position is available.

Lead: Dr David Hallifax

Industry collaborator: CAPKR industry-sponsored project

EyeTREAT

Innovative tool for personalised treatment of patients with neovascular age-macular degeneration

With an ageing population, illnesses that threaten healthy vision are increasing. For example, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is expected to affect 288 million of the worldwide population by 2040.

The treatment of neovascular AMD consists of regular injections of anti-VEGF drugs into the eye ball for the rest of a patient's life.

However, the dosing intervals vary widely among the patients and there is no quantitative method for evaluating the injection frequency.

For that, computational tools linking the drug dose regimen and the drug effect in the retina are needed. Using population pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging technique is a new, novel and promising approach.

Lead: Dr Eva Maria del Amo Paez (working with Professor Leon Aarons and Professor Amin Rostami)
Industry collaborator:
Certara
Additional funders: H2020-EU.1.3.2. Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship - Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility

The human blood-brain barrier

Quantification of human blood-brain barrier drug transporters and solute carriers in health and disease

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) remains a focal point of interest for many scientists who are working on approaches to deliver various therapeutic agents into the brain.

Alterations to BBB proteins can lead to changes in brain function affecting the susceptibility of the CNS to exposure to xenobiotics in the systemic circulation.

Dr Zubida's research focused on the quantification of transporters, enzymes and other proteins at BBB and measurement protein content of the microvascular fraction to populate PBPK model predicting drug disposition and the potential differences in health and disease.

Lead: Dr Zubida Al-Majdoub (working with Dr Jill Barber and Professor Amin Rostami)

Precision dosing of metabolically-cleared drugs

Development of techniques for precision dosing of metabolically-cleared drugs

Liver biopsies are required to assess abundance and activity of enzymes that contribute to the clearance of drugs and other xenobiotics. This can be invasive and alternative methods to enable precision dosing in the clinic are required.

We are therefore developing methods for the quantification of hepatic enzyme abundance in tissue using surrogate analytes in plasma. The approach involves quantifying RNA in isolated plasma exosomes.

Future assessment of specific plasma metabolites is planned.

Lead: Dr Brahim Achour (working with Professor Amin Rostami)

Industry collaborators: Certara, Thermo, Illumina

 

Dose adjustment in orphan disease populations

Optimising drug regimens in paediatric liver disease using experimentally-derived simulation tools

Funded by the Children's Liver Disease Foundation, the project aims to develop in silico models and simulations of drug metabolism in paediatric populations through examining and quantifying drug metabolising enzymes and transporter proteins.

Using LC-MS/MS-based analysis of liver tissue samples, this project specifically explores the ontogeny of these proteins and how they are affected by comorbidities such as liver disease.

We are in the unique position of having access to neonatal samples with biliary atresia which will provide the data necessary to develop models and ultimately optimise drug regimens in this orphan disease population.

Leads: Professor Amin Rostami, Dr Jill Barber, Naved Alizai (Leeds Children's Hospital)

Postgraduate researcher: Martyn Howard

Funder: Children's Liver Disease Foundation

Modelling endogenous biomarkers of hepatic and renal transporters

Mechanistic insight into renal and hepatic endogenous biomarkers for transporter‐mediated drug–drug interactions using modelling and simulation

A number of endogenous biomarkers have been proposed for early evaluation of transporter-mediated drug-drug interaction (DDI) risk.

However, there are limited examples of application of modelling and simulation for biomarker qualification.

There is also a lack of understanding of inter-individual variability in biomarker baseline in different populations such as paediatric and chronic kidney disease.

This project aims to develop physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models for endogenous biomarkers of hepatic and renal transporters to inform the optimal design of clinical transporter DDI studies and assess DDI risk in different patient populations.

Lead: Dr Amais Ahmad (working with Dr Aleksandra Galetin, Professor Amin Rostami and Dr Daniel Scotcher)

Collaborators: US Food and Drug Administration, CAPKR consortium-sponsored project

3D microphysiological model of human kidney proximal tubule as in vitro tool

Currently there is a growing interest in employing advanced 3D systems, e.g. organ-on-a-chip technology, to study renal biology and toxicology and to mimic specific disease states due to its advantages compared to 2D systems.

These systems show promising physiological features and exhibit long-term viability (up to 28 days). However, the application of these novel technologies for mechanistic prediction of renal drug disposition and the translational value remains a challenge.

The objective of this project is to investigate different cellular platforms (in conjunction with mechanistic modelling) as predictive tools for investigating renal drug-drug interactions and nephrotoxicity, in particular associated with OAT1. Specific focus will be on Nortis ParVivo system and its feasibility to study drug transport in the proximal tubule via OAT and OCT transporters.

Postgraduate researcher/PhD student: Thomas van der Made

Lead: Aleksandra Galetin and Amin Rostami

Industry collaborator: Janssen Pharmaceutica

TRISTAN

Translational Imaging in Drug Safety Assessment

Imaging biomarkers, based on non-invasive techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), offer potential for insights into toxicity issues early on in drug development. One of TRISTAN project aims is to validate the use of gadoxetate as MRI biomarker for assessment of hepatobiliary transporter mediated drug-drug interactions (work package 2).

CAPKR team will perform in vitro evaluation of hepatic uptake of gadoxetate and develop a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for this imaging biomarker. CAPKR’s expertise in quantitative translation will support the mechanistic interpretation of the in vivo MRI data being generated for gadoxetate, including effects of various transporter inhibitors.

Lead: Dr Aleksandra Galetin (working with Dr Adam Darwich, Dr Kayode Ogungbenro, and Dr Daniel Scotcher)

Funding: Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 116106.

 

Our academics

Seven academics make up CAPKR, all providing complementary expertise in applied pharmacokinetic research.

Together they provide experience in both in vitro and in vivo systems, as well as computer-based pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and omics, especially proteomics and transcriptomics of human and animal tissue.

Professor Amin Rostami – Director of CAPKR

Amin Rostami

Amin is well-known for his contribution to translational modelling, such as physiologically-based pharmacokinetics (PBPK). 

He is the author of over 230 highly-cited articles, and serves on the editorial board of several journals. 

In 2017 he was listed as one of the world’s most highly-cited researchers (in Pharmacology and Toxicology).

Amin collaborates with other members of CAPKR to deliver training for PhD students in involving proteomics, PBPK, clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and precision dosing. 

View research profile

email: amin.rostami@manchester.ac.uk

 

 

Dr Aleksandra Galetin – Deputy Director

Aleksandra Galetin

Alex is the recipient of the 2012 ISSX European New Investigator Award. She is very active in the International Transporter Consortium Committee leading in PBPK/translational modelling of transporter kinetics and endogenous biomarkers for transporter drug-drug interactions.

Alex had a sabbatical in the US Food and Drug Administration's Office of Clinical Pharmacology where she provided expert advice on the PBPK modelling of drug-drug interactions and specific populations.

These research activities are also captured in her CAPKR projects.

View research profile

email: aleksandra.galetin@manchester.ac.uk

 

Professor Brian Houston – Advisor

Brian Houston

In recent years Brian has been particularly active through his research and numerous conference presentations in promoting the use of in vitro and in silico systems for predicting human metabolism and pharmacokinetics.

Brian is a member of the editorial boards of several scientific journals, has experience on national science funding bodies and is a consultant to a number of pharmaceutical companies.

He is a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and received the International Society for Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX) 2014 European Scientific Achievement Award.

He has supervised over 60 graduate students. His research publications in the area of drug metabolite kinetics in vivo and in vitro exceed 200 and are highly cited. He was named as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in 2015, ranking among the top 1% most cited scientists in his subject field (Pharmacology and Toxicology) earning him the mark of exceptional impact.

View research profile

email: brian.houston@manchester.ac.uk

 

Dr Jill Barber – Proteomics Lead

Jill Barber

Like many NMR spectroscopists, Jill became a mass spectrometrist in middle age, specialising in quantitative proteomics, particularly as applied to drug metabolism and disposition. 

Her group is able to quantify enzymes and transporters in a variety of tissues and thereby feed data-hungry quantitative systems pharmacology models of health and disease.

Apart from research, Jill has won every teaching excellence award the University offers, and is also a National Teaching Fellow.

View research profile

email: jill.barber@manchester.ac.uk

 

 

Dr Adam Darwich – Precision Based Medicines Lead

Adam Darwich

Adam's research activities centre around physiologically-based pharmacokinetics (PBPK), systems pharmacology, translational modelling and population pharmacokinetic modelling in the space of precision dosing.

Adam has a particular interest in dose optimisation using real patient data, extrapolation of pharmacokinetics to special disease patient populations and children, modelling of biopharmaceutics effects, and optimal design of clinical trials.

Adam is also Deputy Director of the MSc in Model-based Drug Development where he leads the teaching on PBPK modelling and simulation.

View research profile

email: adam.darwich@manchester.ac.uk


 

Dr Kayode Ogungbenro – Modelling Lead

Kayode Ogungbenro

Kayode Ogungbenro is a Lecturer in Cancer Pharmacometrics and an Honorary Clinical Scientist at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester. 

His research activities within CAPKR are centred around population pharmacokinetics for top-down (empirical) and bottom-up (PBPK) models.

He is also interested in modelling pharmacodynamic data, optimal design and sample size calculations of population PK studies, population pharmacokinetics in special population (children) and computer aided clinical trial simulation.

Kayode is also the Director of MSc in Model-Based Drug Development which is based within CAPKR.

View research profile

email: kayode.ogungbenro@manchester.ac.uk

 

Professor Leon Aarons – Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics Lead

Leon Aarons

Leon's major research interests lie in the area of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics modelling.

He has a worldwide reputation in the area of population pharmacokinetics with applications in drug development and drug utilisation in a number of disease states including tropical diseases such as malaria.

Leon is a member of the British Pharmacological Society, a founding member of the United Kingdom Pharmacokinetic Discussion Group and a member of the organising committee of the Population Approach Group Europe.

He is on the editorial boards of a number of journals including Emeritus Editor of the Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics.

He has supervised more than 40 postgraduate students, many of which have gone onto positions in academia and the pharmaceutical industry. For more than 20 years he has been teaching pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics courses in Europe, Australasia, the United States and Africa.

View research profile

email: leon.aarons@manchester.ac.uk

 
Student studying
 

Events and conferences

Find out more about forthcoming events and conferences with CAPKR involvement.

ISSX2019

28 - 31 July 2019

Join Alex Galetin in Portland, Oregon for the 12th International ISSX Meeting.

ISSX2019 logo

 

Past events

Festschrift

24 May 2019

A celebration of Professor Brian Houston's career on his retirement, we hosted a one day symposium, "Festschrift".

Read a blog post about this event.

 

 

Contact us

Get in touch to discuss collaborating now.

Contact one of the academic leads listed above. For general enquiries please email capkr@manchester.ac.uk.