Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick J. Marsac


Supersaturating drug delivery systems, such as amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs), have been used extensively to elevate the apparent solubility and oral bioavailability of poorly water-soluble drugs. However, despite the numerous examples of success in increasing solubility and oral bioavailability using ASDs, physical stability challenges remain as formulators seek to employ high drug loading for cost reduction and improved patient compliance. Therefore, stability in both the solid and solution state must be considered for ASDs to be successful. In the solid state, the drug must remain amorphous in the solid matrix throughout the shelf life of the product. Although excipients, such as polymers, have been known to stabilize the amorphous drug in the solid state, stresses encountered during manufacturing and fluctuations in storage conditions may have a detrimental impact on the physical stability of ASDs. Numerous studies have been performed on the impact of each process on ASD stability, yet the relative quantitative impact of each process with respect to the overall energetics landscape is not well understood.

Further, ASDs must dissolve after administration and maintain the intended supersaturation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract during the GI transit time to achieve maximum oral absorption. In solution, the energetics advantage of the amorphous over the crystalline material is a “double-edged sword,” in that it produces not only a high absorption driving force but also an undesirable high crystallization potential. An approach to quantitatively measure the thermodynamic activity of amorphous materials is, thus, desirable. However, it is difficult to measure thermodynamic activity quantitatively, especially due to the speciation process induced by formulation excipients and endogenous materials. Hence, it is often difficult to assess the true enhancement in the absorption for a given ASD and to measure its crystallization tendency in solution. Overall, this dissertation aims to address the following:

1. The relative thermodynamics magnitude of various processes with respect to the crystallization energy associated with amorphous drugs

2. The development of a practical tool to measure the thermodynamic activity of amorphous materials over its crystalline counterpart in solution to assess the enhancement in absorption in the presence of excipients

3. The impact of measured thermodynamic activity on drug crystallization energetics in the presence of excipients

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)