Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael J. Zaworotko


hydrate, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical cocrystal, polymorph, supramolecular chemistry


There is heightened interest to diversify the range of crystal forms exhibited by active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in the pharmaceutical industry. The crystal form can be regarded as the Achilles' heel in the development of an API as it directly impacts the physicochemical properties, performance and safety of the API. This is of critical importance since the crystal form is the preferred method of oral drug delivery by industry and regulatory bodies. The ability to rationally design materials is a lucrative avenue towards the synthesis of functional molecular solids with customized physicochemical properties such as solubility, bioavailability and stability. Pharmaceutical cocrystals have emerged as a new paradigm in pharmaceutical solid form development because they afford the discovery of novel, diverse crystal forms of APIs, generate new intellectual property and modify physicochemical properties of the API. In addition, pharmaceutical cocrystals are amenable to design from first principles of crystal engineering.

This dissertation focuses on the crystal engineering of multi-component crystal forms, in particular pharmaceutical cocrystals and crystalline hydrates. It addresses: (i) the factors involved in the selection of cocrystal formers (ii) design strategies for APIs that exhibit complexity, (iii) the role of water molecules in the design of multi-component crystal forms and (iv) the relationship between the crystal structure and thermal stability of crystalline hydrates.

In general, cocrystal former libraries have been limited to pharmaceutically acceptable substances. It was investigated to expand this library to include substances with an acceptable toxicity profile such as nutraceuticals. In other words, can nutraceuticals serve as general purpose cocrystals formers? The model compounds, gallic acid and ferulic acid, were selected since they possess the functional moieties carboxylic acids and phenols, that are known to form persistent supramolecular synthons with complementary functional groups such as basic nitrogen and amides. The result yielded pairs of cocrystals and revealed the hierarchical nature of hydrogen bonding between complementary functional groups.

In general, pharmaceutical cocrystals have been designed by determining the empirical guidelines regarding the hierarchy of supramolecular synthons. However, this approach may be inadequate when considering molecules that are complex in nature, such as those having a multiplicity of functional groups and/or numerous degrees of conformational flexibility. A crystal engineering study was done to design multi-component crystal forms of the atypical anti-psychotic drug olanzapine. The approach involved a comprehensive analysis and data mining of existing crystal structures of olanzapine, grouped into categories according to the crystal packing exhibited. The approach yielded isostructural, quaternary multi-component crystal forms of olanzapine. The crystal forms consist of olanzapine, the cocrystal former, a water molecule and a solvate.

The role of water molecules in crystal engineering was addressed by investigating the crystal structures of several cocrystals hydrates and their related thermal stability. The cocrystal hydrates were grouped into four categories based upon the thermal stability they exhibit and it was concluded that no structure/stability correlations exist in any of the other categories of hydrate. A Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) analysis was conducted to examine the supramolecular heterosynthons that water molecules exhibit with two of the most relevant functional groups in the context of active pharmaceutical ingredients, carboxylic acids, and alcohols. The analysis suggested that there is a great diversity in the supramolecular heterosynthons exhibited by water molecules when they form hydrogen bonds with carboxylic acids or alcohols. This finding was emphasized by the discovery of two polymorphs of gallic acid monohydrate to it the first tetramorphic hydrate for which fractional coordinates have been determined. Analysis of the crystal structures of gallic acid monohydrate polymorphs revealed that forms I and III exhibit the same supramolecular synthons but different crystal packing and forms II and IV exhibit different supramolecular synthons. Therefore, the promiscuity of water molecules in terms of their supramolecular synthons and their unpredictable thermal stability makes them a special challenge in the context of crystal engineering.