Orally bioavailable and effective buparvaquone lipid based nanomedicines for visceral leishmaniasis

Lindsay Smith, Dolores Remedios Serrano Lopez, Marion Mauger, Francisco Bolas-Fernandez, Maria-Auxiliadora Dea Ayuela, Katerina Lalatsa

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Nano-enabled lipid based drug delivery systems offer a platform to overcome challenges encountered with current failed leads in the treatment of parasitic and infectious diseases. When prepared with FDA or EMA approved excipients, they can be readily translated without the need for further toxicological studies, while they remain affordable and amenable to scale-up. Buparvaquone (BPQ), a hydroxynapthoquinone with in vitro activity in the nanomolar range, failed to clinically translate as a viable treatment for visceral leishmaniasis due to its poor oral bioavailability limited by its poor aqueous solubility (BCS Class II drug). Here we describe a self-nanoemulsifying system (SNEDDS) with high loading and thermal stability up to 6 months in tropical conditions able to enhance the solubilisation capacity of BPQ in gastrointestinal media as demonstrated by flow-through cell and dynamic in vitro lipolysis studies. BPQ SNEDDS demonstrated an enhanced oral bioavailbility compared to aqueous BPQ dispersions (probe – sonicated) resulting in an increased plasma AUC0-24 by 55% that is four fold higher than any previous reported values for BPQ formulations. BPQ SNEDDS can be adsorbed on low molecular glycol chitosan polymers forming solid dispersions that when compressed into tablets allow the complete dissolution of BPQ in gastrointestinal media. BPQ SNEDDS and BPQ solid SNEDDS demonstrated potent in vitro efficacy in the nanomolar range (<37 nM) and were able to near completely inhibit parasite replication in the spleen and 48 ± 48 and 56 ± 23% inhibition of the parasite replication in the liver respectively compared to oral miltefosine after daily administration over 10 days. The proposed platform technology can be used to elicit a range of cost-effective and orally bioavailable non-invasive formulations for a range of antiparasitic and infectious disease drugs that are needed for closing the global health innovation gap. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2570-2583
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number7
Early online date15 May 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 15 May 2018


  • neglected parasitic diseases
  • visceral leishmaniasis
  • buparvaquone
  • oral delivery
  • self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery systems (SNEDDS)
  • solid nanomedicines


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