Theme Leaders:

Prof. Michael Zaworotko
University of Limerick
Prof. Åke Rasmuson
University of Limerick

Materials platform projects:

Project 2A: Rapid discovery of MCCMs with improved physicochemical properties. Project 2B: Determining how coformers impact biological efficacy. Project 2C: Molecular level understanding of excipient-drug substance interactions. Project 2D: Tailoring crystal size distributions for product performance. Project 2E: Kinetics of impurity discrimination/ additive interaction at the molecular scale of crystal growth. Project 2F: Nucleation control, stabilization and isolation of pharmaceutical nanoparticles.

Overall Objective:

To advance our understanding of single-component crystalline materials (SCCMs) and, especially, multi-component crystalline materials (MCCMs) in order to enable improved orally delivered drug products.

Key Scientific Expertise:

Crystal engineering; structural crystallography; database mining; solid-state characterisation; solid-liquid thermodynamics; cocrystal design and discovery; crystal structures; polymorphism; metallodrugs; modelling of crystallisation processes; phase diagrams; crystallization themodynamics and nucleation and growth kenetics.

Industrial Significance:

  • Reducing time to market; Advanced manufacturing; Improved efficacy of drug products by developing predictive modelling tools for determining the structure and solubility of multi-component crystals to make screening for MCCMs faster and less costly. Developing a high throughput microfluidic platform to assess the impact of active and inactive coformers upon biological activity in a more efficient manner. Developing predictive modelling tools for determining the compatibility of active drug substances with inactive polymeric and molecular excipients in order to de-risk formulation problems for active drug substances.
  • Fundamental understanding of nucleation and crystal growth kinetics for the purpose of controlling the product crystal size distribution.
  • Developing methods to enable rational selection of additives and methods for product isolation.
  • A crystalline material is the active component (drug substance) of almost all orally delivered medicines. This is largely because crystallisation can afford high purity drug substances that are consistent and can be processed at large scale. New crystalline materials are able to offer IP protection for new chemical entities and existing molecules. When the crystalline form of a drug molecule has low solubility, is difficult to crystallise, incorporates impurities or exhibits poor stability then it will not be suitable for ultimate use in a drug product. Regulatory bodies require extensive screening and characterisation of the crystal forms of drug compounds.

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