As the basic human needs, drugs are not administered to patients as pure compounds, they are formulated into drug products. However, recently an FDA review on the approval stats, states that most products fail in clinical studies at phase-II stage as well as phase-III stage possibly due to inefficacy of drug (B55%), toxicity issues (30%), commercial reasons (5%), operational hurdles (5%), and unknown errors (5%). Therefore, in order to save research costs and ensure the production of qualified dosage forms, before developing these main dosage forms, it is essential that certain fundamental, physical and chemical properties of the drug molecule and other properties of the drug powder are determined.

Preformulation is an investigation of physical and chemical properties of a drug substance when used alone or combined with excipients. Early prediction of these properties will generate information useful to the formulator in developing stable and safe dosage forms with good bioavailability.

PreformulationFig.1 General preformulation approaches for tablet production. (Lee B J, 2010)

At CD Formulation, our preformulation services are equipped with advanced instrumentation, and our research team not only have the expertise to handle the most complex formulations, but also have a depth of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and contract service organisations. CD Formulation can offer tailored and rational preformulation development.

Typical Preformulation Studies of Pharmaceuticals Include:

  • Excipient Compatibility Studies – These studies typically assess the stability of an API with individual and groups of commonly used pharmaceutical excipients in various accelerated stability conditions. The exact choice of excipients depends on the known stability and solubility characteristics of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and the type of dosage form planned.
  • Physical/Chemical Characterization – These studies focus on the crystal structure of the API. The tests which are typically performed include powder x-ray diffraction (XRD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and Karl Fischer moisture analysis. Additional tests can be performed if requested.
  • Solubility – Solubility of the API is determined as a function of pH in water, buffers and/or various solvents. The choice of solvents depends on the anticipated dosage form and the known solubility characteristics of the API or similar compounds.

Our Preformulation Services Include:

Crystallinity Determination Amorphous Content Determination
Hygroscopicity Evaluation Particle Size Analysis
Moisture Content Determination Solubility Analysis
LogP/LogD/pKa Analysis Stability Analysis
API-Excipient Compatibility API Physical & Chemical Characterization
Dissolution Rate Test Solid State Characterization of APIs
Powder Flowability Test Forced Degradation Studies
Drug Formulation and Packaging Compatibility Determination of Contact Angle of Pharmaceutical Excipients
Long-Term Accelerated Shelf-Life Testing


  1. Gaisford S, Saunders M. Basic Principles of Preformulation Studies[J]. Essentials of Pharmaceutical Preformulation, 2012: 1-35.
  2. Acharya P C, Shetty S, Fernandes C, et al. Preformulation in Drug Research and Pharmaceutical Product Development[M]. Dosage Form Design Considerations. Academic Press, 2018: 1-55.
  3. Bharate S S, Vishwakarma R A. Impact of Preformulation on Drug Development[J]. Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, 2013, 10(9): 1239-1257.
  4. Lee B J. Pharmaceutical Preformulation: Physicochemical Properties of Excipients and Powders and Tablet Characterization[J]. Pharmaceutical Sciences Encyclopedia: Drug Discovery, Development, and Manufacturing, 2010: 1-54.
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