“The small intestine is the most common target site due to shortest transit time and a large surface area of specialized cells, microvilli, and associated microvessels for material absorption and transportation to the bloodstream.” – Sharpe, et al. Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2014 Jun; 11(6): 901–915
Small can be mighty, and the results of drug delivery to the small intestine give credence to this idea. There are many benefits of delivering drugs to the small intestine, including high surface area, ability to target drug delivery and short transit time.
A review in Drug Metabolism and Disposition states, “The majority of drug absorption occurs at the small intestine because of the large surface area since the presence of villi and microvilli increases the absorptive area manyfold. The duodenum and jejunum possess the greatest surface areas due to the highest concentration of villi and microvilli in these regions, and surface area is least for the ileum.”
Delivering drugs to the small intestine allows targeted drug delivery to the specific site of absorption. A 1997 review article states, “The ultimate goal in pharmaceutical formulation development is to present the drug to the body at a rate dictated by the needs of the body and to channel the active entity solely to the site of action.” This is still true today, as the fields of precision medicine and targeted drug delivery grow.
The short transit time is another benefit to delivering drugs to the small intestine. The transit time is not only short; it is also less variable than that to the colon or stomach. A 2015 review article states that small intestinal transit time is about four hours, but colonic transit times can range from 6 to 70 hours.
High surface area, ability to achieve targeted drug delivery and short transit time are all benefits of delivery drugs to the small intestine. Orbis Biosciences® uses Precision Particle Fabrication technologyTM to develop medications that can be delivered to the small intestine. In October 2017, Orbis won the CPhl Excellence in Pharma Formulation award for an innovative approach to enterics and reverse enterics in drug delivery. Orbis is able to use its technology to showcase the mighty results of drug delivery to the small intestine.