What are Pharmaceutical Drug ADME Studies?

ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) studies are designed to investigate how a chemical is processed by an organism.

by | Sep 22, 2023

ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) studies are pharmaceutical studies designed to understand how organisms process chemicals.

ADME Studies are an important part of pharmaceutical research and development. Overall, this acronym stands for Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion. These ADME Studies are designed to determine how organisms process pharmaceutical drugs. Most of the time, these pharmaceutical research and development studies include toxicology testing and are known as ADMET Studies.

Altogether, these pharmaceutical studies offer a quantitative and comprehensive overall determination of a pharmaceutical drug candidate’s disposition in the human body. This includes the pharmaceutical drug candidate’s excretion patterns and metabolite profiles in circulation and excreta. All the scientific data gathered from the ADMET studies are very useful for developing clinical pharmacology studies in the next phase of moving a pharmaceutical drug candidate through its development process.

The “A” in ADME Pharmaceutical Drug Studies – Absorption

Chemicals enter the body via absorption. This is the movement of a chemical from the site of administration to the bloodstream. The four main routes of administration are:

  1. Ingestion
  2. Inhalation
  3. Dermal application
  4. Injection into the bloodstream

The “D” in ADME Pharmaceutical Drug Studies – Distribution

Once a drug has been absorbed, it moves from the absorption site to bodily tissues via the bloodstream. Typically, the bloodstream circulates the drug within the organism, however, it can also move from cell to cell.

Researchers can examine where a chemical travels to, its rate of distribution, and the extent of the distribution to determine the drug’s efficacy. Some compounds can move easily around the body, while others can not. Factors such as blood flow, lipophilicity, tissue binding, and molecular size can all influence the speed and efficiency of a drug’s distribution.

The “M” in ADME Pharmaceutical Drug Studies – Metabolism

Drug metabolism is a biotransformation that an organ or tissue performs to excrete a drug. Tissues that perform this task are primarily the liver, kidney, skin or digestive tract. The drug’s compound is altered by these tissues so that more water-soluble, and can thus be removed via urine and feces.

Chemical metabolism can also result in toxicity. This may occur if the drug metabolism creates damaging bioproducts or a toxic metabolite. Scientists performing ADME studies map out the specific metabolic pathways of the test drug, also known as adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). AOPs provide data needed to determine the potential safety or toxicity of a drug.

The “E” in ADME Pharmaceutical Drug Studies – Excretion

Drugs are eliminated from the body via excretion. Researchers performing ADME studies determine how rapidly a drug is excreted from the body and what pathway it takes to exit. Most drug excretion occurs as feces or urine, however drugs can also be excreted via the lungs or in sweat. Molecular size and charge may also influence the excretion pathway.

Not every drug compound is fully excreted from the body. When the chemical or metabolic by-products bioaccumulate, adverse effects can occur. Lipid-soluble compounds are more prone to bioaccumulation than water-soluble compounds.

How Does Contract Laboratory Help with Pharmaceutical Drug ADME Studies?

Contract Laboratory has helped pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies find preclinical contract research organizations and laboratories to perform their Pharmaceutical ADME studies. Below are some examples of Laboratory Requests that we have received:

  • Australia Contract Research Organization CRO needed for ADMET Studies
  • FDA GLP Preclinical Contract Research Organization needed for testing a new color additive for AMDE, Short Term Toxicity in Rodents, Short Term Genetic Toxicity. The color additive is composed of two proteins in powder form. Necessary sample quantities will be provided.
  • Preclinical Contract Research Organization needed for radioactive (14C) ADME studies in Rat, Dog, and Monkey
  • Large Pharmaceutical Laboratory needs USA FDA and GMP Microbiology Laboratory for sterility testing on IV drug products used in clinical Human ADME studies labeled with Carbon 14 or tritium
  • A preclinical pharmaceuticals laboratory is needed for a full range of preclinical ADMET testing in India.

Need a Pharmaceutical Drug ADME Study?

Does your pharmaceutical or biotechnology company need a preclinical laboratory or Contract Research Organization CRO for pharmaceutical drug ADME studies? Contract Laboratory’s outsourcing and business development teams can help! Simply complete our Laboratory Request form.

Does your Preclinical Contract Research Organization CRO or Laboratory Perform Pharmaceutical Drug ADME Studies?

Does your contract research organization CRO or preclinical laboratory perform pharmaceutical drug ADME studies? Please let Contract Laboratory‘s outsourcing and business development teams know! Complete our Contact Us form and tell us about your capabilities or Create Free Account


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