Interested in improving your pharmaceutical sciences research with the help of our analytical solutions? Whether you’re a student, a researcher, or a professor, we’ve got a wide range of useful articles on the most relevant application examples of drug discovery, drug delivery, and formulation. 

Pharmaceutical Sciences covers a wide range of topics within chemistry, biochemistry, and medicine. The materials researched and the analytical equipment used often overlap with Agriculture and Food Sciences and Biological Sciences – so feel free to check out those pages for more useful information! Method abbreviations are explained at the bottom of this page.

Drug discovery

Drug discovery lies at the interface of disciplines such as biological sciences and medicine. It often involves expertise in chemistry, biochemistry, and subjects such as protein science, biotherapeutics, and nanobiotechnology. Different drugs can involve specializations, such as:

  • Genetics
  • Hematology
  • Vaccines
  • Virology


Modern drug discovery in the lab can involve automation, allowing researchers to investigate wide-ranging possibilities.

Our application notes show how our instruments are used in a range of drug discovery solutions. You can find a selection below – take a look to discover more!

Drug Discovery

Method

Sample

Application Note Title (Web link)

APIs - crystalline and amorphous content

XRD

Amorphous/crystalline mixture

Quantitative XRD - Detection of low amounts of crystalline impurities for pharmaceutical process control

APIs and Excipients - crystallization monitoring

XRD

Slurry of Lactose (as a model) in ethanol

On-line crystallization monitoring: Slurry Flow Cell for in situ investigation of crystallization processes

APIs and Excipients - particle size screening

LD

Lactose

Detecting the presence of anomalous large particles within powders using laser diffraction particle size analysis

APIs and Excipients - automated identification of polymorphs using Raman

IMG

Acetaminophen

Discriminating between polymorphs of acetaminophen using Morphologically Directed Raman Spectroscopy

APIs and Excipients - Composition and polymorph identification

XRD

Ventolin™ (salbutamol)

Diffraction on aerosol drugs. Measurements on small quantities of pharmaceutical samples

APIs and Excipients - crystallite size

XRD

Azithromycin antibiotic

Crystallite size determination of a pharmaceutical compound by Rietveld analysis

APIs and Excipients - crystallite size with temperature and humidity

XRD

Salbutamol

Automatic condensation-free combined temperature-humidity control for XRD studies

APIs and excipients - high throughput identification of polymorphs by XRD

XRD

Cimetidine

High-resolution, high-throughput XRPD

Cosmetic ingredients - preparation for ICP

SPE

Cosmetics – harmful trace elements – sample preparation

Metal Determination in Cosmetics by ICP

DNA Vaccines - molecular weight

SEC

Plasmid DNAs, a mixture of three topo isomers: supercoiled (SC), open circle (OC), and linear (lin)

Analysis of plasmid DNA using SEC

Drug development - assay development

ITC

Various proteins, peptides, small molecule compounds, and in buffers

From assay development to lead optimization using Isothermal Titration Calorimetry

Drug discovery - Enzymes

ITC

Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (Vps34)

Multiple applications for the Malvern MicroCal Auto-iTC200 in a fragment-based drug discovery campaign

Drug discovery - microcalorimetry of APIs

ITC

APIs, small molecules, and proteins

Application of microcalorimetry in drug discovery at Exelixis

Drug discovery - protein interactions

DSC

Protein/protein interactions, therapeutics

Targeting protein/protein interactions in drug design

Excipients - molecular weight

SEC

Cellulose derivatives (HEC), (HPC), (HPMP), and (HBMC)

Understanding the effect of molecular weight and structure on the performance characteristics of cellulose derivatives using OMNISEC

Excipients - particle shape variations

IMG

Two excipients from different suppliers

Morphological Comparison of Pharmaceutical Excipients

Excipients - particle size and shape

IMG

Lactose as a model for excipients

Pharmaceutical Excipient Characterization

Excipients - particle size distribution

LD

Lactose

Measuring the particle size of small quantities of dry powders using the Aero S and Mastersizer 3000

Oxygen carriers - particle size, stability

DLS

Hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOC)

Size, Oligomeric State and Thermal Stability of Chemically Modified Hemoglobins

Therapeutic Proteins - particle size

DLS

Antibodies

Therapeutic protein characterization

Therapeutic Proteins - stability

DSC

Immunoglobulins, IgG, and IgE

Accelerating biotherapeutic process development using Differential Scanning Calorimetry

Drug delivery

Drug delivery helps ensure that the process of drug release into the human body is safe, effective, and targeted. It can range from relatively simple oral dose tablets to highly sophisticated, targeted drugs such as those used in gene therapy or chemotherapy. 

Below, you’ll find a selection of application notes and articles showing how our analytical instruments can provide drug delivery solutions. Feel free to explore them and learn more!

Drug Delivery

Method

Sample

Application Note Title (Web link)

Controlled drug release - size and zeta potential with temperature

DLS

Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) coated Silica particles

Thermo- and pH-Sensitive PNIPAM-Coated Silica Particles Studied Using Light Scattering

Encapsulation - degradation, molecular weight

SEC

PLA-PEO-PLA polymers

Evaluating degradation of drug delivery polymers using Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC) and advanced multi-detection

Encapsulation - size and concentration

NTA

Polylactic Acid (PLA) particles

Assessing Drug Encapsulation Efficiency using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis

Encapsulation - size and zeta potential

DLS

Pharmaceutical manufacturing/ agriculture

Characterization of a Protein - Chitosan Complex

Inhalers - foreign particulate matter

IMG

General inhaler formulation

Foreign Particulate Matter testing using the Morphologi® G3

Inhalers - particle size vs flow rate

LD

General inhaler formulation

Malvern Instruments and Melbourn Scientific work together on applying rapid techniques to inhaler design optimization

Inhalers - particle size, shape

IMG

Metered-dose inhaler (MDI) for lung disorders

In vitro bioequivalence studies for a metered dose inhaler formulation using the Morphologi automated particle imaging system

Lipid Emulsions - Induced Flocculation

DLS/ELS

Calcium + Intralipid (soybean oil, egg phospholipids, and glycerin)

Calcium Induced Flocculation of Intralipid

Lipid Emulsions - size, polydispersity in concentrated solutions

DLS

Oil-in-water, parenteral nutrition emulsions

Measuring Globule Size in Lipid Injectable Emulsions Using Non-Invasive Back Scatter Dynamic Light Scattering (NIBS-DLS)

Lipid Emulsions – zeta potential in concentrated solutions

ELS

Intralipid (soy bean oil, egg phospholipids, and glycerin)

Zeta Potential Characterization of Concentrated Lipid Emulsions

Liposomes - size and concentration

NTA

Poly(β-amino ester)s (PBAEs), Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)

Direct visualization, sizing, and concentration measurements of drug delivery nanoparticles using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA)

Liposomes - size and concentration

IMG

Hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine (HSPC)/(5-cholesten-3ß-ol)CHOL

Characterizing the size and concentration of liposomes using multi-angle dynamic light scattering

Liposomes - size and zeta potential

DLS

Anionic and cationic liposomes

Size and zeta potential characterization of liposomes using the Zetasizer Nano

Liposomes – zeta potential

ELS

Complexes with DNA

The use of zeta potential and DLS measurements in gene therapy research

Liposomes- characterization methods

XRD

White paper

Characterization of liposomes by several complementary techniques

Nasal spray - particle size homogeneity

LD

Nasal spray

DPT Laboratories uses Malvern Spraytec in all nasal spray work

Nasal Spray - particle size versus time

LD

Nasal spray

Monitoring Nasal Spray Tail-Off using the Malvern Spraytec

Nasal spray - particle size vs actuation method

LD

Nasal spray

Understanding the performance of nasal spray drug delivery systems using the Malvern Spraytec

Nasal Spray - sorting particle size and shape

IMG

Nasal spray

Automation of manual QC analysis of suspension nasal spray products using the Morphologi automated imaging system

Nebulizers - particle size

LD

Spray solution

Particle characterization of inhalation drug suspensions on the FPIA-3000

Polymer carriers - conjugate levels

SEC

Doxorubicin (Dox) and Polyglutamic acid (PG)

Optimizing drug delivery polymer conjugate levels using Advanced Multi-Detector GPC

Suspensions - particle size distribution

LD

Sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate, and calcium carbonate

Understanding the functionality of suspension-based pharmaceutical products

Suspensions - particle stability, Zeta potential

DLS

Various particles in apolar solvent systems

The influence of electrostatic stabilization in apolar suspension formulations

Tablets - chemical phase quantification

XRD

Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, and Manufacturing

Quantitative evaluation on pharmaceutical solids

Tablets - particle size and shape

IMG

Generic drugs as powdered tablets

In vitro bioequivalence studies for oral solid dose products using the Morphologi ID

Formulation

No matter how they are administered, all medicines need to be delivered in manageable formulations that have a known shelf life and don’t deteriorate into ineffective or toxic forms. In personal healthcare and cosmetics, the stability, look, and feel of a formulation is also an important part of making a product attractive. Formulation requires expertise in chemistry, process engineering, and specific pharmaceutical sciences.

Below you’ll find a selection of application notes and articles on drug formulation research. Enjoy exploring them and finding out more!

Formulation

Method

Sample

Application Note Title (Web Link)

Creams - particle size and shape

IMG

General topical skin cream

Automated analysis of drug crystals in topicals and creams using the Morphologi G3 automated image analysis system

Creams - particle size, Zeta potential

DLS / ELS

Encapsulated retinol system, retinol (vitamin A), waxes, anionic and ionic surfactants

Optimizing topical skin care formulations and production

Creams - particles Chemical Identification

MDRS

General topical skin cream

Component-specific particle characterization of the active components in a pharmaceutical-topical formulations

Excipients - crystalline/amorphous ratio

XRD

Filler and dilutant: alpha-lactose monohydrate

Crystallinity determination - Quantification of low amounts of amorphous material in a crystalline matrix and vice versa

Excipients - particle size

IMG

Milled lactose fines (LH210), coarse lactose carrier (LH100), and blended with budesonide

Understanding the properties of dry powder inhaler formulations through combined cascade impaction and automated image analysis measurements

Excipients and additives - Protein stabilization

ITC / DSC

ProX, Polysorbate-80, and phenol

Applications of Isothermal Titration Calorimetry and Differential Scanning Calorimetry in biopharmaceutical formulation development

Gels - crystalline particle size and shape

MDRS

Benzoyl peroxide and adapalene in Epiduo gel

Microstructure of crystals in a topical drug product

Liquids - size distributions in microemulsions

DLS

API, oil surfactant, and alcohol in water

Microemulsion characterization using dynamic light scattering

Liquids - nanomaterial dose

NTA

Cerium (IV) Oxide, Titanium dioxide nanoparticles

Time-resolved description of nanomaterial dose under relevant biological and environmental conditions

Manufacturing - materials identification in Quality Control

XRF

General pharmaceuticals

Material identification by FingerPrint

Manufacturing - trace elements

XRF

 Cd, Pb, As, Hg, Co, V, Ni, Tl, Pd, Ir, Rh, Ru, Se, Pt, Mo, Cu, and Cr 

Non-destructive elemental analysis of impurities in pharmaceuticals according to ICH Q3D and USP <232>

Manufacturing - virus stability

DLS

Three adeno-associated virus (AAV) samples

Measuring the concentration of Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) with multi-angle dynamic light scattering (MADLS)

Nasal spray - APIs in mixtures

MDRS

Inhalers

Supporting dry powder inhaler formulation development using component-specific particle characterization

Ointment - particle size and shape

IMG

General ointment

Automation of QC microscope measurements of a pharmaceutical ointment using the Morphologi particle characterization system

Oral solid dosage - analytical methods review

Various

White paper - review article

Analytical techniques with a place in the oral solid dosage formulation toolkit

Oral solid dosage - Bioequivalence

MDRS

Painkillers

Confirming the pharmaceutical equivalence of Oral Solid Dose (OSD) products using MDRS and the Morphologi 4-ID

Oral solid dosage - API particle size

LD

Tablet prepared as a suspension

Determining the particle size of active pharmaceutical ingredient within oral solid dose products using the FPIA-3000 dynamic imaging system

Pastes - elemental identification

XRF

Toothpaste

Fast toothpaste identification by FingerPrint

Powders - particle agglomeration

IMG & MDRS

General examples including APIs

Identification of Agglomerates Using Automated Image Analysis

Powders - particle size

MDRS

Cold remedy formulations compared

Deformulation of a pharmaceutical formulation using the Morphologi ID

Protein formulations - aggregation

NTA

Protein aggregates

High-resolution sizing and concentration measurements of sub-visible protein aggregates using NTA

Protein formulations - aggregation

MDRS

Lysozyme (spiked with latex spheres)

Characterization of protein aggregates by Morphologically Directed Raman Spectroscopy

Protein formulations - antibody interactions

DLS

Monoclonal antibodies (mAb), human serum albumin (HSA), and Immunoglobulin G (IgG)

Using A2 and kD to assess protein interactions in formulations

Protein formulations - lipid encapsulation, particle size changes

DLS

Lipid polymer

pH and Temperature Responsive Novel Nanoparticles Characterized by Dynamic Light Scattering

Protein formulations - liquid formulation stability

DSC

Monoclonal antibody, lyophilized

Using Differential Scanning Calorimetry to accelerate liquid formulation development for protein biopharmaceuticals

Protein formulations - long term stability

DSC

Antibodies and Fc-conjugated proteins

Correlating long term biotherapeutic stability with a fast analytical technique

Protein formulations - size, aggregation, stability

SEC

Human Ig in phosphate-buffered saline

Protein stability measurements amplified: Combining SEC-MALS and DLS to maximize data output

Protein formulations - role of stabilizers vs pH

DLS

Recombumin

Formulation stability evaluation using light scattering techniques

Stabilizers - crystal structure with temperature and humidity

XRD

Trehalose

2D XRD at non-ambient conditions

Stabilizers - crystal structure with temperature and humidity

XRD

Trehalose

Temperature- and humidity-controlled XRD

Protein formulations - stability

DLS

Insulin in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) buffer

Assessing the self-association and stability of Insulin under varying formulation conditions using Taylor Dispersion Analysis

Protein formulations - stability in solution

DSC

Proteins

Use of microcalorimetry and its correlation with Size Exclusion Chromatography for rapid screening of the physical stability of large pharmaceutical proteins in solution

Protein Formulations - stabilizing excipients

DLS

Arginine

Investigating the effects of excipients on the earliest stages of aggregation - Aggregation inhibition by arginine

Protein formulations - Stabilizers vs temperature

DLS

Recombumin

Using Light Scattering to Study the Thermal Stability of Recombumin

Protein formulations - viscosity

SEC

Bovine serum albumin in histidine and arginine buffers.

Effect of excipients on protein formulation viscosity

Sprays - particle size

LD

Hairspray

Characterizing personal and domestic aerosol products using the Malvern Spraytec

Tablet Coating – particle size

LD

Tablet coating containing Titanium Oxide

Optimizing the processing of pigments using particle size analysis

Therapeutic Antibodies - characteristics for stability

DSC

Parent and engineered monoclonal antibodies

Engineering monoclonal antibodies to enhance drugability: A case study

Therapeutic Antibodies - molecular weight

SEC

Antibodies, in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)

The power of multi-detector SEC in the analysis of antibodies

Therapeutic Antibodies - molecular weight

SEC

Immunoglobulin G (IgG)

Molecular weight measurements of an antibody using Viscotek SEC-MALS 20

Therapeutic Antibodies - purification, elution buffers

DSC

Antibody purification - various elution buffers

Manufacturing biotherapeutic faster using Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

Therapeutic Antibodies - stability

DSC

Genetically tailored antibody fragments

Selecting the most stable biotherapeutic antibody using Differential Scanning Calorimetry

Therapeutic Antibodies - stability in buffer solutions

DSC

Antibodies in a range of buffers

Preformulation and stability studies of biotherapeutics using DSC

Abbreviations explained

Our products and technologies are described on the Products pages. Below you can find a quick reference to the properties measured by our instruments, together with the measurement name and its abbreviation. Click on each method to find out more about it! 

Abbreviation

Method Name

Instrument(s)

Measured Property

DLS

Dynamic light scattering

Zetasizer

Molecular size, hydrodynamic radius RH,  particle size, size distribution, stability, concentration, agglomeration

ELS

Electrophoretic light scattering

Zetasizer

Zeta potential, particle charge, suspension stability, protein mobility

ITC

Iso-thermal calorimetry

MicroCal  ITC

Binding affinity, thermodynamics of molecular reactions in solution

DSC

Differential scanning calorimetry

Microcal DSC

Denaturing (unfolding) of large molecules, stability of macromolecules

IMG

Automated Morphological Imaging

Morphologi 4

Imaging of particles, automated shape and size measurement

MDRS

Morphologically directed Raman spectroscopy

Morphologi 4-ID

Imaging of particles, automated shape and size measurement, chemical identification and contaminant detection

LD

Laser diffraction

Mastersizer

Spraytec

Insitec

Parsum

Particle size, size distribution

NTA

Nanoparticle tracking analysis

NanoSight

Particle size, size distribution, and concentration

SEC or GPC

Size exclusion chromatography /

Gel permeation chromatography

OMNISEC

Molecular size, molecular weight, oligomeric state, polymer or protein size and molecular structure

SPE

Sample preparation by fusion

Le Neo

LeDoser

Eagon 2

The OxAdvanced

M4

rFusion

Fused Bead Sample preparation for XRF, Peroxide solution preparations for ICP, Flux weighing for beadmaking

UV/Vis/NIR/ SWIR

Ultra-violet / visible / near infra-red / short wave infra-red spectrometry

LabSpec

FieldSpec

TerraSpec

QualitySpec

Material identification and analysis, moisture, mineral, carbon content. Ground truthing for airborne and satellite spectroscopic techniques.

PFTNA

Pulsed fast thermal neutron activation

CNA

In-line elemental analysis

XRD-C

X-ray diffraction (crystallography)

Aeris

Empyrean

Molecular crystal structure refinement,

crystalline phase identification and quantification, crystalline to amorphous ratio, crystallite size analysis

XRD-M

X-ray diffraction (microstructure)

Empyrean

X’Pert3 MRD(XL)

Residual stress, texture

XRD-CT

X-ray absorption imaging by computed tomography

Empyrean

3D imaging of solids, porosity, and density

SAXS

Small-angle X-ray scattering

Empyrean

Nanoparticles, size, shape and structure

GISAXS

Glancing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering

Empyrean

Nanostructured thin films and surfaces

HR-XRD

High-resolution X-ray diffraction

Empyrean

X’Pert3 MRD(XL)

Thin-films and epitaxial multilayers, composition, strain, thickness, quality

XRR

X-ray reflectometry

Empyrean

X’Pert3 MRD(XL)

Thin films and surfaces, film thickness, surface and interface roughness

XRF

X-ray fluorescence

Epsilon

Zetium

Axios FAST

2830 ZT

Elemental composition, elemental concentration, trace elements, contaminant detection

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