Cocrystal engineering of pharmaceutical solids: therapeutic potential and challenges

Si Nga Wong, Yu Chee Sonia Chen, Bianfei Xuan, Changquan Calvin Sun, Shing Fung Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Cocrystals are an emerging class of crystalline materials composed of two or more different molecules in the same crystal lattice that are physically connected by non-ionic and non-covalent bonds. Formulating problematic drugs into cocrystals is a pragmatic strategy to manipulate solid state properties for new drug development and product reformulation. While research on cocrystals has been undergoing rapid growth over the past two decades, successful clinical translation of cocrystals is still limited. As the pharmaceutical properties of a cocrystal are decidedly dictated by the selection of cocrystal formers and resulting crystal structure, the present review begins with an overview of the current strategies in cocrystal design and preparation, followed by the potential applications of cocrystals in medicines. The major hurdles and missing knowledge gaps hindering the translation of pharmaceutical cocrystals into commercial reality are also mentioned. Finally, perspectives of cocrystals in alternative dosage forms other than for oral use, as well as latest topics of cocrystal research are highlighted. We believe that cocrystals play an important role in future drug discovery and development, offering a new direction for optimal drug delivery, combination therapy and personalized medicines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7005-7038
Number of pages34
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 28 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2021.


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