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J Pharm Sci. 2009 May;98(5):1671-87. doi: 10.1002/jps.21552.

Materials science tetrahedron--a useful tool for pharmaceutical research and development.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota, 9-127B Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street S.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


The concept of materials science tetrahedron (MST) concisely depicts the inter-dependent relationship among the structure, properties, performance, and processing of a drug. Similar to its role in traditional materials science, MST encompasses the development in the emerging field of pharmaceutical materials science and forms a scientific foundation to the design and development of new drug products. Examples are given to demonstrate the applicability of MST to both pharmaceutical research and product development. It is proposed that a systematic implementation of MST can expedite the transformation of pharmaceutical product development from an art to a science. By following the principle of MST, integration of research among different laboratories can be attained. The pharmaceutical science community as a whole can conduct more efficient, collaborative, and coherent research.

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