Growing drug crystals on polymer surfaces could greatly improve a critical step in the development of pharmaceuticals, a new study suggests.
Many drug molecules can assume a variety of crystal structures, or polymorphs. Because polymorphs can differ in their ease of manufacture and in their medicinal properties, drug companies try to control crystal growth and discover new polymorphs (SN: 8/21/04, p. 122: http://www.sciencenews.org//articles/20040821/bob9.asp). However, there's no simple chemical route to making varieties of polymorphs. Conventional methods, which typically involve varying the temperature of a crystallizing solution or changing solvents, take a lot of time and are hit-or-miss.