By Dr. Mike Bellucci, XtalPi Inc
Crystallization is the most widely used separation and purification process in the pharmaceutical industry. The resulting crystal structure and corresponding crystal morphology isolated from this process can have a profound influence on the physical properties and manufacturability of drug product APIs. Consequently, the ability to characterize the crystal polymorph landscape and control the crystal morphology are two fundamental aspects of pharmaceutical manufacturing. At XtalPi, we have developed a cloud-based computational platform that combines advanced physics-based algorithms with A.I/machine learning algorithms in order to mitigate polymorph risk and support rational design of crystallization experiments for improved morphological control. We highlight various applications from our Crystal Structure Prediction and Morphology platforms and discuss our recent investigation of the effect of polymer additives on the crystal growth of metformin HCl. This study was performed both with experiments and computational methods with the aim of developing a combined screening approach for crystal shape engineering. Additionally, we have developed analysis methods to characterize the morphology “landscape” and quantify the overall effect of solvent and additives on the predicted crystal habits. Further analysis of our molecular dynamics simulations was used to rationalize the effect of additives on the growth rate of specific crystal faces.