When it comes to developing new pharmaceuticals, the molecular structure of a compound isn’t drugmakers’ only concern. Scientists at Merck & Co. Inc. in Rahway, N.J., are researching these crystals, which were made by crystallizing the same small-molecule drug candidate yet have noticeably different shapes, or crystal habits. The two habits are a result of the solvent used during crystallization: Isopropyl alcohol yields the rhombic platelets (left) while a mixture of ethyl acetate and toluene yield hexagonal ones (right). Pharma companies want to control crystal habits because a crystal’s shape can affect how well the drug dissolves, how stable the drug is in suspensions, and how easily it can be processed while being synthesized.
Submitted by Billy Chen, Luke Schenck, Zhiwei Yin, and Alfred Y. Lee
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