Traditionally, the choice of which candidate compounds to take forward into development has been based on pre-clinical data. However, lack of predictivity of the human clinical situation in the models used has led to poor decision-making, and the later in the development process that such mistakes are realised, the more costly and time-consuming it is to correct them. Furthermore, compounds that may have made perfectly good drugs, have been dropped due to poor pharmacokinetics in animal models. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is an ultra-sensitive detection technique that can be used to quantify carbon-14. By administering very small amounts of 14C-labelled compounds, AMS can be used to obtain human clinical data very early in the drug development process. Such studies: a) can be helpful in understanding human pharmacokinetics using microdosing; b) can provide early human metabolism information, to validate the choice of animal species used in pre-clinical safety testing and identify unique or disproportionate human metabolites during Phase 1; and c) can provide fundamental human pharmacokinetic data, including absolute bioavailability, by facilitating a scientifically optimal and cost-effective study design. The provision of these clinical insights at the earliest possible opportunity can lead to improved decision-making, and therefore can reduce the time and cost involved in the drug development process.
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