Portrait of Dr Hamid Merchant Dr Hamid Merchant

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hamid.merchant@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472387


Dr Hamid Merchant is a Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics at the University of Huddersfield. He has a formulation sciences background with extensive experience both from industry and academia. He has a particular interest in drug delivery research at the interface of gastroenterology and publishes regularly in peer-reviewed journals. He is an overseas qualified and registered pharmacist. His clinical knowledge and expertise in pharmaceutics helps students to understand the clinical and therapeutic principles underpinning the science of dosage form design.

Before joining Huddersfield in November 2013, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University College London (UCL), where he investigated various technologies for drug delivery into gastrointestinal tract and offered technical support and expert advice to collaborators and clients from academia and industry on various formulation and drug delivery aspects. One of his postdoc assignments at UCL was to develop a novel formulation for colonic delivery of statins for an emerging pharmaceutical company in UK. During his time at UCL (Nov 2007 to Nov 2012), he has also developed novel in-vitro solutions for assessment of pharmaceutical and neutraceutial products in physiologically relevant conditions. He developed innovative strategies for exploiting physiological bicarbonate buffers for dissolution testing and devised an Auto pH SystemTM – a robust instrumentation and dynamic dissolution media (PCT/GB2013/051145) employing physiological bicarbonate buffers simulating the aboral changes in gastrointestinal pH while dosage form transits down the gut. Hamid has also won a proof of concept fund from UCL Business to further the technology.

He was associated with Abbott Laboratories Ltd from December 2002 to November 2007 and served in various capacities such as quality, formulation, new product development, continuous improvement and project management. He is involved in peer review of various research journals and is a member of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), Controlled Release Society (CRS) and Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Great Britain (APS).

Hamid graduated with a BPharm from the University of Karachi (Pakistan) in 2002 and became a registered pharmacist (RPh) with the Pharmacy Council of Sindh in 2003. He started his career with Pharma Professional Services in May 2002, the then small emerging consultancy company in Pakistan and soon acceded to a dynamic role in Abbott Laboratories. During his time at Abbott, he also completed his MPharm (part-time) in Pharmaceutical Formulations in September 2005 and also completed a PGD in Quality Management from NED University of Engineering and Technology and became a Certified Quality Professional (CQP) by the Institute of Quality Control in 2006. Hamid served at Abbott until Nov 2007 when he received a prestigious scholarship by The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) to pursue his doctoral research with Prof Abdul Basit at The School of Pharmacy (UCL), where he was also awarded an esteemed Overseas Research Scholarship (ORS) by the British Government and completed his PhD in November 2011.

Research and Scholarship

Dr Merchant has a particular interest in drug delivery research at the interface of gastroenterology and publishes in various aspects of oral delivery. For collaboration and technical support in following areas, please feel free to contact him.

Formulation development

The advancements in materials sciences and improved understanding of the human gastrointestinal (GI) environment are leading to intelligent design of formulations. The rationale design and selection of delivery technologies improves the performance of orally administered drugs, for example, by improving drug solubility, flux or by delivering it to the specific gastrointestinal regions. Our research in formulation sciences offers novel and customised solutions for immediate and delayed release formulations; and drug targeting in GI tract, such as delivery to the colon. .

Dissolution and permeation of drugs

Drug dissolution in gastrointestinal fluid and its permeation through the gastrointestinal mucosa is a key consideration for its absorption. Our research continues to explore and develop various in-vitro technologies to provide a reasonable estimation of absorption and help selecting a lead formulation for clinical evaluation. .

One of our innovative strategies is the exploitation of physiological bicarbonate buffers for dissolution testing. This led to the development of an Auto pH System™ – a robust instrumentation and dynamic dissolution media employing physiological bicarbonate buffers simulating the aboral changes in gastrointestinal pH while dosage form transits down the gut after emptying from stomach (PCT/GB2013/051145). The system exploits the physiological equilibrium of bicarbonate/carbonic acids to control and manipulate the pH and offers a robust automatic pH control without using conventional non-physiological acid/base titration techniques. .

The novel system has numerous applications in drug delivery and has been employed to assess dissolution and drug release from various delivery systems, such as: .

  • Dissolution screening of drugs and its salt forms

    Example: Dissolution in pH 5.6 bicarbonate buffer stabilized using a novel control system to discriminate between ibuprofen and its salt forms, AAPS 2013-R6065.

  • Evaluation of gastro-resistant formulations

    Example: The assessment of enteric-coated formulations under dynamic dissolution conditions simulating the pH conditions of the proximal gut, AAPS 2013-T3050.

  • Inter-individual variability of GI pH and transit and consequences on drug release

    Example: Drug release from pH responsive ileo-colonic systems: Simulation of inter-individual variability using a novel dynamic dissolution system mimicking the entire spectrum of gastrointestinal pH, AAPS 2013-W5338.

  • Evaluation of delayed-release formulations for colonic targeting

    Example: Dynamic dissolution of modified release mesalamine products using bicarbonate buffers, AAPS 2013-T3119.

  • Evaluation of sustained-/controlled-release formulations

    Example: Use of physiological bicarbonate buffers provides more realistic behaviour of sustained release formulations compared to compendial phosphate buffers, AAPS 2013-R6310.

Preclinical models in drug delivery

Pre-clinical testing is paramount for the improved understanding of the behaviour of orally administered drugs. Various animal models are used with the aim to mimic as closely as possible the conditions of the human gastrointestinal tract. The characteristics of the gastrointestinal milieu have a significant influence on orally administered drugs. Therefore, rational selection of animal models for a specific delivery technology is a key to successful translation of preclinical observations to clinic. We have investigated the gastrointestinal milieu of various animal models, such as mice, rat, guinea pig, rabbit and pig, and their effects on drug solubility and absorption. We have also explored the effects of ageing in gastrointestinal environment of rat in relation to drug delivery.

For a complete list of peer-reviewed publications, please refer the Publications section.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Sauer, J. and Merchant, H. (2018) ‘Physiology of the Gastrointestinal System’. In: Comprehensive Toxicology (Third Edition). : Elsevier. pp. 16-44. ISBN 9780081006016


Conway, B. and Merchant, H. (2017) ‘Editorial: maintaining open access to high quality publications at no cost to authorsBritish Journal of Pharmacy , 2 (1). ISSN 2058-8356

Ghori, M., Mohammad, M., Rudrangi, S., Fleming, L., Merchant, H., Smith, A. and Conway, B. (2017) ‘Impact of purification on physicochemical, surface and functional properties of okra biopolymerFood Hydrocolloids , 71, pp. 311-320. ISSN 0268-005X

Merchant, H (2017) ‘Can Diet Help Non-Obese Individuals with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?Journal of Clinical Medicine , 6 (9). ISSN 2077-0383

Barbosa, J., Conway, B. and Merchant, H. (2017) ‘Going Natural: Using polymers from nature for gastroresistant applicationsBritish Journal of Pharmacy , 2 (1). ISSN 2058-8356


Conway, B. and Merchant, H. (2016) ‘Foreword: BJPharm - a new Open Access Journal for Research, Education and Practice in PharmacyBritish Journal of Pharmacy , 1 (1). ISSN 2058-8356

Merchant, H., Liu, F., Orlu Gul, M. and Basit, A. (2016) ‘Age-mediated changes in the gastrointestinal tractInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics , 512 (2), pp. 382-395. ISSN 0378-5173


Hatton, G., Yadav, V., Basit, A. and Merchant, H. (2015) ‘Animal Farm: Considerations in Animal Gastrointestinal Physiology and Relevance to Drug Delivery in HumansJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences , 104 (9), pp. 2747-2776. ISSN 0022-3549

Merchant, H., Afonso-Pereira, F., Rabbie, S., Youssef, S. and Basit, A. (2015) ‘Gastrointestinal characterisation and drug solubility determination in animalsJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology , 67 (5), pp. 630-639. ISSN 0022-3573

Goyanes, A., Hatton, G., Merchant, H. and Basit, A. (2015) ‘Gastrointestinal release behaviour of modified-release drug products: Dynamic dissolution testing of mesalazine formulationsInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics , 484 (1-2), pp. 103-108. ISSN 03785173


Merchant, H., Goyanes, A., Parashar, N. and Basit, A. (2014) ‘Predicting the gastrointestinal behaviour of modified-release products: Utility of a novel dynamic dissolution test apparatus involving the use of bicarbonate buffersInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics , 475 (1-2), pp. 585-591. ISSN 0378-5173

Merchant, H., Rabbie, S., Varum, F., Afonso-Pereira, F. and Basit, A. (2014) ‘Influence of ageing on the gastrointestinal environment of the rat and its implications for drug delivery.European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences , 62, pp. 76-85. ISSN 0928-0987

Varum, F., Merchant, H., Goyanes, A., Zboranov´┐Ż, V. and Basit, A. (2014) ‘Accelerating the dissolution of enteric coatings in the upper small intestine: Evolution of a novel pH 5.6 bicarbonate buffer system to assess drug release.International Journal of Pharmaceutics , 468 (1-2), pp. 172-177. ISSN 03785173

Kaassis, A., Young, N., Sano, N., Merchant, H., Yu, D., Chatterton, N. and Williams, G. (2014) ‘Pulsatile drug release from electrospun poly(ethylene oxide)–sodium alginate blend nanofibresJournal of Materials Chemistry B (10), pp. 1400-14078. ISSN 2050-750X


Yadav, V., Gaisford, S., Merchant, H. and Basit, A. (2013) ‘Colonic bacterial metabolism of corticosteroids.International Journal of Pharmaceutics , 457 (1), pp. 268-274. ISSN 03785173

Merchant, H., Frost, J. and Basit, A.(2013) Apparatus and methods for testing medicaments. PCT/GB2013/051145.

Araujo, V., Gamboa, A., Caro, N., Abugoch, L., Gotteland, M., Valenzuela, F., Merchant, H., Basit, A. and Tapia, C. (2013) ‘Release of prednisolone and inulin from a new calcium-alginate chitosan-coated matrix system for colonic delivery.Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences , 102 (8), pp. 2748-2759. ISSN 0022-3549


Freire, A., Basit, A., Choudhary, R., Piong, C. and Merchant, H. (2011) ‘Does sex matter? The influence of gender on gastrointestinal physiology and drug delivery.International Journal of Pharmaceutics , 415 (1-2), pp. 15-28. ISSN 03785173

Liu, F., Merchant, H., Kulkarni, R., Alkademi, M. and Basit, A. (2011) ‘Evolution of a physiological pH 6.8 bicarbonate buffer system: application to the dissolution testing of enteric coated products.European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics , 78 (1), pp. 151-157. ISSN 0939-6411

Merchant, H., McConnell, E., Liu, F., Ramaswamy, C., Kulkarni, R., Basit, A. and Murdan, S. (2011) ‘Assessment of gastrointestinal pH, fluid and lymphoid tissue in the guinea pig, rabbit and pig, and implications for their use in drug development.European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences , 42 (1-2), pp. 3-10. ISSN 0928-0987


Varum, F., Merchant, H. and Basit, A. (2010) ‘Oral modified-release formulations in motion: the relationship between gastrointestinal transit and drug absorption.International Journal of Pharmaceutics , 395 (1-2), pp. 26-36. ISSN 03785173


Fadda, H., Merchant, H., Arafat, B. and Basit, A. (2009) ‘Physiological bicarbonate buffers: stabilisation and use as dissolution media for modified release systems.International Journal of Pharmaceutics , 382 (1-2), pp. 56-60. ISSN 03785173


Merchant, H., Shoaib, H., Tazeen, J. and Yousuf, R. (2006) ‘Once-daily tablet formulation and in vitro release evaluation of cefpodoxime using hydroxypropyl methylcellulose: a technical note.AAPS PharmSciTech , 7 (3), p. E178-E183. ISSN 1530-9932

Shoaib, M., Tazeen, J., Merchant, H. and Yousuf, R. (2006) ‘Evaluation of drug release kinetics from ibuprofen matrix tablets using HPMC.Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences , 19 (2), pp. 119-124. ISSN 1011-601X

Research Degree Supervision