Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Crystal clear savings for drug giants

06.06.2008
Drug companies could save millions thanks to a new technology to monitor crystals as they form.

The technique, developed by University of Leeds engineers, is a potentially invaluable tool in drug manufacture, where controlling crystal forms is crucial both to cost and product safety.

Most drug compounds are crystalline and their structure can affect both their physical attributes and their performance. Changes to these structures are often caused by undetected fluctuations in the process.

“If you were to use a pencil to write on glass you wouldn't get very far, but use a diamond and you could write your name. Yet both are pure forms of carbon. It's the same with different solid forms of the same drug; they can have completely different properties,” says Dr Robert Hammond of the University’s Faculty of Engineering, who leads the research team.

... more about:
»Technology »developed

“Drug molecules are becoming increasingly complex and the challenges involved in processing them means that it is not always possible to successfully produce the desired form reliably. That’s why there’s such enormous potential for our system. We’re now able to look at crystals as they are forming in a reactor, something that has never been done before.”

The new technology identifies and monitors changes in crystal structures on-line, providing a method of ensuring production of the desired drug compounds. The bespoke system has been developed by engineers at the University of Leeds in collaboration with Bede X-Ray Metrology as part of the EPSRC funded Chemicals Behaving Badly programme.

Called polymorphism, changes in crystal structure during processing can lead to huge delays in bringing drugs to market, costing drug companies many millions of pounds. It can also lead to challenges to intellectual property protection. There have been a number of high profile cases where patents have been challenged by companies making an established formulation using a different polymorph.

“It’s an enormous problem for drug companies,” explains Dr Hammond. “Their patents are extremely valuable – they are granted for 20 years, but it can take ten years to bring a new drug to market, which only leaves another ten to recoup the cost of its development.”

The technology developed at Leeds is based on the ‘gold standard’ method for monitoring crystal structures - powder X-ray diffraction, the primary tool for studying polymorphs.

“There’s enormous commercial potential for this technology, for example it could be developed to work at manufacturing plant scales and can be applied to speciality chemical industries as well,” says Dr Hammond. “We’re interested in talking to pharmaceutical and speciality chemical companies that can help us drive this forward.”

Jo Kelly | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

Further reports about: Technology developed

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

nachricht Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>