Mechanochemical Synthesis of Pharmaceutical Cocrystal Suspensions via Hot Melt Extrusion: Enhancing Cocrystal Yield

Shu Li, Tao Yu, Yiwei Tian, Colette Lagan, David Jones, Gavin Andrews

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20 Citations (Scopus)
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Pharmaceutical cocrystals have attracted increasing attention over the past decade as an alternative way to modify the physicochemical properties and hence improve the bioavailability of a drug, without sacrificing thermodynamic stability. Our previous work has demonstrated the viability of in-situ formation of ibuprofen/isonicotinamide cocrystal suspensions within a matrix carrier via a single-step hot-melt extrusion (HME) process. The key aim of the current work is to establish optimised processing conditions to improve cocrystal yield within extruded matrices.

The solubility of each individual cocrystal component in the matrix carrier was estimated using two different methods, calculation of Hansen solubility parameters, and Flory-Huggins solution theory using melting point depression measurement, respectively. The latter was found to be more relevant to extrusion cocrystallisation because of the ability to predict miscibility across a range of temperatures. The predictions obtained from the F-H phase diagrams were verified using ternary extrusion processing. Temperatures that promote solubilisation of the parent reagents during processing, and precipitation of the newly formed cocrystal were found to be the most suitable in generating high cocrystal yields. The incorporation of intensive mixing/kneading elements to the screw configuration was also shown to significantly improve the cocrystal yield when utilising a matrix platform. This work has shown that intensive mixing in combination with appropriate temperature selection, can significantly improve the cocrystal yield within a stable and low viscosity carrier during HME processing. Most importantly, this work reports, for the very first time in the literature, the use of the F-H phase diagrams to predict the most appropriate HME processing window to drive higher cocrystal yield.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3741-3754
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2017


  • Cocrystal suspension
  • mechanochemical synthesis
  • Flory-Huggins phase diagrams
  • yield
  • solubility parameter
  • hot melt extrusion


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