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TeraView works with Cambridge to improve drug discovery

18 May 2016

Terahertz specialist and university looking at body’s take-up of amorphous, low-solubility drugs.

TeraView, a developer of terahertz technology and solutions, as part of its on-going collaboration with the University of Cambridge, has licensed a new university patent application on the formulation of drug ingredients based on amorphous materials.

The patent complements TeraView’s portfolio of 10 granted patents in the pharmaceutical field, which encompass intellectual property addressing tablets and drug formulation. The latest patent will assist TeraView's collaborations with leading pharmaceutical companies, intended to improve the speed of drug formulation, the lifetime of drug products, and the efficiency of their manufacture.

The inventors of the new patent are Dr Axel Zeitler and Dr Juraj Sibik, from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. They have devised a new method of using terahertz spectroscopy to investigate the stability of amorphous materials, which can be used as active ingredients in drugs. Such ingredients can increase bioavailability (absorption by the body) of low-solubility drugs when administered orally as tablets or capsules.

Dr Zeitler said, “Our work on amorphous materials has proven to be of interest to the scientific community, in both its applications to materials science as well as the terahertz spectroscopy. We have also had substantial interest from pharmaceutical companies. Our long-standing relationship with TeraView, and its position as the leading provider of terahertz solutions, makes the company a natural partner for making our invention available to the wider industrial community.”

TeraView’s intellectual property includes the use of terahertz spectroscopy to aid in the development of new drug formulations and solid dosage forms, as well as quality assurance in production. The Cambridge-based company patents address issues such as delamination in solid dosage forms, dissolution properties of tablets, tablet coating integrity, which is important for many controlled release products, as well as the use of terahertz spectroscopy to quantify different crystalline forms of drugs (“polymorphism”).

Commercial interest

Dr Phil Taday, a Principal Scientist and Head of Applications at TeraView, said, “Understanding the stability of amorphous materials is clearly of increasing importance to the pharmaceutical industry. TeraView sees this patent as an important addition to our portfolio, with interest shown already by major pharmaceutical companies.”

Dr Don Arnone, CEO, TeraView, added, “This agreement further solidifies our relationship with Dr Zeitler’s group. This collaboration, where we have provided TeraView systems and other means of support, is a very good example of the sort of collaboration we seek to establish with world experts in their fields, such as Dr Zeitler.”

An article in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, entitled,” Direct measurement of molecular mobility and crystallisation of amorphous pharmaceuticals using terahertz spectroscopy”, explains how the use of terahertz spectroscopy can benefit drug discovery:

”Despite much effort in the area, no comprehensive understanding of the formation and behaviour of amorphous solids has yet been achieved. This severely limits the industrial application of such materials, including drug delivery where, in principle, amorphous solids have demonstrated their great usefulness in increasing the bioavailability of poorly aqueous soluble active pharmaceutical ingredients.

”Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy can be used to measure the fast molecular dynamics of molecules with high accuracy in a non-contact and non-destructive fashion. A number of applications for the characterization of amorphous drug molecules and formulations have been developed and it has been demonstrated how this technique can be used to determine the onset and strength in molecular mobility that underpins the crystallization of amorphous drugs.”

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

Photon Engineering, LLCAltechnaDelta Optical Thin Film A/SOmicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbHScitec Instruments LtdAlluxaart Photonics GmbH
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