The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Formulation.

The topic of this month’s newsletter from Drug Discovery Today is “Formulation”.

Every field probably has its “Cinderella”, that area that really is overlooked, maybe it isn’t sexy science or people don’t find it particularly stimulating. In many respects, I guess drug discovery’s Cinderella is Formulation. As in the fairy tale, however, formulation often ends up conquering all. It doesn’t have the sex appeal of topics like CRISPR/Cas9 and I doubt that we will see many popular documentaries on the subject, but I bet everyone out there can name at least 1 occasion where formulation has taken an “Ugly Duckling” molecule and transformed it into a Swan. I know I’m using a lot of fairy tale metaphors here, but please forgive me. I think people underestimate the utility of formulation and how they can be the real finishing school of blockbuster drugs. This month’s newsletter, therefore, concentrates on three excellent papers published in Drug Discovery Today in 2016 on this, or a closely related topic.  

The first article in this month’s offering is entitled: ” Nanoporous metal organic frameworks as hybrid polymer–metal composites for drug delivery and biomedical applications”, by Sarwar Beg, Mahfoozur Rahman, Atul Jain, Sumant Saini, Patrick Midoux, Chantal Pichon, Farhan Jalees Ahmad and Sohail Akhter. This article deals describes how metal organic frameworks can be used as hybrid nanocomposites in drug delivery and biomedical applications.

The second featured article is by Gaia Fumagalli, Cristina Marucci, Michael S. Christodoulou, Barbara Stella, Franco Dosio and Daniele Passarella of the Universities of Torino and Milan, Italy and is entitled: “Self-assembly drug conjugates for anticancer treatment”. The authors outline how self assembly drug conjugation can improve activity and enhance penetration through physical or physiological barriers. They point out that the technology is cheap and simple and offers advantages as a pseudo pro-drug approach. Finally they discuss applications of such technology in the treatment of cancer.

Finally, is the article “Mucoadhesive polymers in the treatment of dry X syndrome” from Alexandra Partenhauser and Andreas Bernkop-Schnürch from the Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Institute of Pharmacy, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 80/82, Innsbruck, Austria. Strictly speaking, this article is not related to formulation as such, but instead outlines how the physicochemical properties of compounds can be used to achieve a beneficial (if not pharmacological) solution to a medical issue. In the article, the authors outline how mucoadhesive polymers are able to provide protection or even mucus substitution for leaky mucus barriers associated with a dry eye, dry mouth and dry vagina, collectively named ‘dry X syndrome.


Steve Carney was born in Liverpool, England and studied Biochemistry at Liverpool University, obtaining a BSc.(Hons) and then read for a PhD on the Biochemistry and Pathology of Connective Tissue Diseases in Manchester University, in the Departments of Medical Biochemistry and Histopathology. On completion of his PhD he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, where he worked with Professor Helen Muir FRS and Professor Tim Hardingham, on the biochemistry of experimental Osteoarthritis. He joined Eli Lilly and Co. and held a number of positions in Biology R&D, initially in the Connective Tissue Department, but latterly in the Neuroscience Department. He left Lilly to take up his present position as Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Today, at Elsevier. Currently, he also holds an honorary lectureship in Drug Discovery at the University of Surrey, UK. He has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents.

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