Feasibility of electrospray deposition for rapid screening of the cocrystal formation and single step, continuous production of pharmaceutical nanococrystals

Objectives: This study employed electrospray deposition (ESD) for simultaneous synthesis and particle engineering of cocrystals.

Significance: Exploring new methods for the efficient production of cocrystals with desired particle properties is an essential demand.

Methods: The possibility of cocrystal formation by ESD was examined for indomethacin-saccharin, indomethacin-nicotinamide, naproxen-nicotinamide, and naproxen-iso-nicotinamide cocrystals. Solutions of the drug and coformer at stoichiometric ratios were sprayed to a high electric field which caused rapid evaporation of the solvent and the formation of fine particles. The phase purity, size, and morphology of products were compared with reference cocrystals. Experiments were performed to evaluate the effects of stoichiometric ratio, concentration and solvent type on the cocrystal formation. Physical stability and dissolution properties of the electrosprayed cocrystals were also compared with reference cocrystals.

Results: ESD was found to be an efficient and rapid method to produce cocrystals for all studied systems other than indomethacin-nicotinamide. Pure cocrystals only formed at a specific drug:coformer ratio. The solvent type has a weak effect on the cocrystal formation and morphology. Electrosprayed cocrystals exhibited nano to micrometer sizes with distinct morphologies with comparable physical stability with reference cocrystals. Nanococrystals of indomethacin-saccharin with a mean size of 219 nm displayed a threefold higher dissolution rate than solvent evaporated cocrystal.

Conclusion: ESD successfully was utilized to produce pure cocrystals of poorly soluble drugs with different morphologies and sizes ranging from nano to micrometer sizes in one step. This study highlighted the usefulness of ESD for simultaneous preparation and particle engineering of pharmaceutical cocrystals.