Pharmaceutical formulation, in pharmaceutics, is the process in which different chemical substances, including the active drug, are combined to produce a final medicinal product. The word formulation is often used in a way that includes dosage form.
Formulation studies involve developing a preparation of the drug which is both stable and acceptable to the patient. For orally administered drugs, this usually involves incorporating the drug into a tablet or a capsule. It is important to make the distinction that a tablet contains a variety of other potentially inert substances apart from the drug itself, and studies have to be carried out to ensure that the encapsulated drug is compatible with these other substances in a way that does not cause harm, whether direct or indirect.
Preformulation involves the characterization of a drug's physical, chemical, and mechanical properties in order to choose what other ingredients (excipients) should be used in the preparation. In dealing with protein pre-formulation, the important aspect is to understand the solution behavior of a given protein under a variety of stress conditions such as freeze/thaw, temperature, shear stress among others to identify mechanisms of degradation and therefore its mitigation.