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A new chemistry for drug design

Researchers develop ampicilin-based ionic liquids

Oeiras, 09.03.12

In a daring move into the biomedical arena, ITQB chemists from the Molecular Thermodynamics Lab and collaborators from REQUIMTE have managed to convert the solid antibiotic ampicilin into an ionic liquid form, a method that may be extended to other pharmaceutical compounds with benefits for their administration. The work is now published in Medicinal Chemistry Communications.

Most drugs are solid. Solids often present distinct polymorphic forms and many drugs are composed of several of these polimorphs; however, oftentimes, only one is medically effective. Thus, liquid pharmaceuticals are generally superior.

Ionic liquids are conventionally defined as organic salts with a melting temperature below 100oC. The large number of possible ions and ion combinations to form an ionic liquid makes this a very large family of compounds with tunable properties and multiple applications in many areas. In an ever-growing effort to come up with increasingly versatile ionic liquids, chemists have turned to active pharmaceutical compounds as a source of ions, offering new avenues for the drug industry. In the present study, researchers used ampicilin as the anion (the negatively charged ion) and several biocompatible cations to develop novel ionic liquids with antibiotic properties.

As a result, five new ampicilin-based ionic liquids were produced with considerably high yields. Using an active drug in a liquid form both avoids polymorphism and increases its solubility, and bioavalability, thus dramatically decreasing drug dosages. Moreover, not only are the forming ions extensively tested substances (one of them is, or example, a vitamin) but the synthesis process also relies on green methods, making these novel compounds extremely attractive for medical applications. Initial testing in animal cell cultures is already on the way. Researchers believe these compounds may be used for “the development of new bioactive materials, such as anstiseptics and anti-biofilm, or to reduce drug resistance in microorganisms”.

Original Article

Med. Chem. Commun., 2012 DOI: 10.1039/C2MD00269H

Development of Novel Ionic Liquids-APIs based on Ampicillin

Ricardo Ferraz, Luis C Branco, Isabel M Marrucho, João Miguel Mendes de Araújo, Luís Paulo N. Rebelo, Manuel Nunes da Ponte, Cristina Prudêncio, João Paulo Noronha and Zeljko Petrovski

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