Non-salt based co-amorphous formulation produced by freeze-drying

Mohammed Suleiman Alsalhi*, Paul G. Royall, Hisham Al-Obaidi, Alyaa Alsalhi, Agostino Cilibrizzi, Ka Lung Andrew Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amino acids-based co-amorphous system (CAM) has shown to be a promising approach to overcome the dissolution challenge of biopharmaceutics classification system class II drugs. To date, most CAM formulations are based on salt formation at a 1:1 M ratio and are prepared by mechanical activation. However, its use in medicinal products is still limited due to the lack of in-depth understanding of non-ionic based molecular interactions. There are also limited studies on the effect of drug-to-co-former ratio, the development of more scalable, less aggressive, manufacturing processes such as freeze drying and its dissolution benefits. This work aims to investigate the effect of the ratio of tryptophan (a model non-ionic amino acid) to indomethacin (a model drug) on a non-salt-based CAM prepared via freeze-drying with the tert-butyl alcohol-water cosolvent system. The CAM material was systemically characterized at various stages of the freeze-drying process using DSC, UV–Vis, FT-IR, NMR, TGA and XRPD. Dissolution performance and physical stability upon storage were also investigated. Freeze-drying using the cosolvent system has been successfully shown to produce CAMs. The molecular interactions involving H-bonding, H/π and π–π between compounds have been confirmed by FT-IR and NMR. The drug release rate for formulations with a 1.5:1 drug: amino acid molar ratio (or 1:0.42 wt ratio) or below is found to be significantly improved compared to the pure crystalline drug. Furthermore, formulation with a 2.3:1 drug:amino acid molar ratio (or 1:0.25 wt ratio) or below have shown to be physically stable for at least 9 months when stored at dry condition (5% relative humidity, 25 °C) compared to the pure amorphous indomethacin. We have demonstrated the potential of freeze-drying using tert-butyl alcohol-water cosolvent system to produce an optimal non-salt-based class II drug-amino acid CAM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123404
Early online date14 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2023


  • Co-amorphous system
  • Dissolution
  • Freeze drying
  • Non-ionic interaction
  • Optimal ratio
  • Physical stability


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