Reduction of a whole-body physiologically based pharmacokinetic model to stabilise the Bayesian analysis of clinical data

Thierry Wendling*, Nikolaos Tsamandouras, Swati Dumitras, Etienne Pigeolet, Kayode Ogungbenro, Leon Aarons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Whole-body physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models are increasingly used in drug development for their ability to predict drug concentrations in clinically relevant tissues and to extrapolate across species, experimental conditions and sub-populations. A whole-body PBPK model can be fitted to clinical data using a Bayesian population approach. However, the analysis might be time consuming and numerically unstable if prior information on the model parameters is too vague given the complexity of the system. We suggest an approach where (i) a whole-body PBPK model is formally reduced using a Bayesian proper lumping method to retain the mechanistic interpretation of the system and account for parameter uncertainty, (ii) the simplified model is fitted to clinical data using Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques and (iii) the optimised reduced PBPK model is used for extrapolation. A previously developed 16-compartment whole-body PBPK model for mavoglurant was reduced to 7 compartments while preserving plasma concentration-time profiles (median and variance) and giving emphasis to the brain (target site) and the liver (elimination site). The reduced model was numerically more stable than the whole-body model for the Bayesian analysis of mavoglurant pharmacokinetic data in healthy adult volunteers. Finally, the reduced yet mechanistic model could easily be scaled from adults to children and predict mavoglurant pharmacokinetics in children aged from 3 to 11 years with similar performance compared with the whole-body model. This study is a first example of the practicality of formal reduction of complex mechanistic models for Bayesian inference in drug development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-209
Number of pages14
JournalAAPS Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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