Developed by engineers at the University of Leeds, the technique uses infra-red spectroscopy to monitor supersaturation – the levels of chemical saturation in a liquid - required for crystallisation to begin to occur.
Most drug compounds are crystalline, manufactured in batch process systems. Small changes in crystallisation process conditions, such as temperature and cooling rates, can significantly affect the structure of the resulting crystals, something which affects both their physical properties and their performance.
“For example, when you cool water the molecules in the water have to get into the right position to begin crystallising into ice crystals and the temperature can have a bearing on the size of ice crystals that are formed,” says Dr Tariq Mahmud from the University’s School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering. “It’s similar with chemicals, although there’s a wider range of parameters to take into account.”
The new technique uses a probe attached to an infra-red spectrometer to measure the concentration of a specific chemical in solution. In laboratory experiments, this technique was used on the batch cooling crystallisation of chemical L-Glutamic acid (LGA). The information gained from the infra-red spectrometer is coupled with detailed statistical – or chemometric - data to provide a more detailed analysis of the crystallisation process than has been possible with other infra-red spectrometry techniques.
Dr Mahmud explains: “Using a chemometric approach enables us to take many more parameters into account, which makes it a more reliable predictor of the optimum concentration levels required to produce a particular crystal structure.”
The latest technique was developed by engineers at Leeds in collaboration with researchers at Newcastle and Heriot-Watt universities as part of the Chemicals Behaving Badly programme which is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, along with ten industrial partners.
It is the latest in a raft of new “Quality by Design” (QBD) tools being developed for the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector as part of a drive for increased understanding of drug processing fundamentals. “By developing tools to increase knowledge about, and monitor, batch process systems, we’re providing practical solutions to problems faced by industry on a daily basis,” says Dr Mahmud. “This sort of technological approach to manufacture will help reduce waste – and therefore costs - and could have a significant role to play in increasing the competitiveness of the pharmaceutical sector.”
Clare Elsley | alfa
A water treatment breakthrough, inspired by a sea creature
27.11.2018 | Yale University
Research project AutoAdd: Paving the way for additive manufacturing for the automotive industry
22.11.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy