New Irish Lab Offering Quicker Drug Product Shelf-life Determination for the Pharmaceutical Industry

Prof. Anne Marie Healy, Head of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Trinity College Dublin and AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research Centre, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre) Principal Investigator, has recently launched AmTrin ASAP Laboratories. AmTrin ASAP Laboratories is a partnership between Amebis Limited and Trinity College Dublin, providing Accelerated Stability Assessment Programme (ASAP) and ASAP related services to the pharmaceutical industry. ASAP is an accelerated ageing process allowing faster and more accurate prediction of product shelf-life – 15 of the 20 largest world-wide global pharmaceutical companies are using the ASAP technique.

AmTrin ASAP Laboratories is the first European service provider with dedicated ASAP laboratories for performing contract ASAP studies and researching new applications. The benefits of AmTrin’s services, in addition to faster shelf life prediction time, include improved understanding of packaging, formulation and process choices and faster submissions into clinical trials for new drugs. An ASAP study can be performed, and the shelf life of a product determined, in as little as three weeks compared to the standard for ICH testing of 2 to 6 months.

Prof. Anne Marie Healy, Head of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Trinity College Dublin and AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research Centre) Principal Investigator, said: “AmTrin’s services for the pharmaceutical industry can set the shelf life for products including tablets, capsules, gels, creams and ointments. Companies can save both time and money by building an accurate stability prediction model for their products and AmTrin can support all ASAP requirements from protocol design to study conduct.”

AmTrin combines the expertise from researchers within both Amebis, AMBER and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College Dublin with state-of-the-art equipment to refine and research new applications for the ASAP technique. The first stage involves exposing the test material to a range of environmental conditions. AmTrin employs the Amebis system to accurately measure the temperature and relative humidity test conditions. The aged test material is then analysed using a range of equipment and finally ASAP modelling software is used to build the prediction model.

AmTrin ASAP Laboratories has been set up as a partnership between the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trinity College Dublin and Amebis Ltd. The consultancy is spear-headed by Prof. Anne Marie Healy, AMBER Investigator and Head of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Dr. Nigel McSweeney, Managing Director of Amebis Ltd. Prof. Anne Marie Healy has become the Chief Scientific Advisor and Dr. Nigel McSweeney is the Head of Business Development for AmTrin ASAP Laboratories.

World-first magnetism research has today been published by Professor Michael Coey at AMBER (the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research Centre based at Trinity College Dublin) together with researchers from The Netherlands, Singapore, and the USA in the prestigious journal Science.* Researchers have discovered that magnetism can be suddenly switched on by adding an extra layer just one atom thick to a thin film of a specific oxide material. This is not only important for materials science, as researchers have detected a surprising new type of behavior within the material, but it is also a significant discovery that could have potential for storing the World’s big data. Besides, it is a step towards the goal of new, oxide-based electronics. Researchers from the University of Twente, the National University of Singapore, Stanford University, the University of Nebraska and AMBER in Trinity College Dublin all contributed to this body of research.

All the information we download every day from the Internet is stored magnetically on the hard disks in server farms dotted across the World. Magnetism in layers of nanomaterials less than 50 atoms thick has been a key enabler of the big data revolution. One of the major challenges is to increase the density of storage in the discs, which is where the new, ultra-thin magnetic oxide layers may help.

The researchers discovered the unusual magnetic effect in nanolayers of a material, LaMnO3 (an oxide of lanthanum and manganese). When thin layers of this material were grown, it was discovered that the magnetism was sensitive to the slightest change in layer thickness. Below 5 layers of these atoms, the material is non-magnetic, but magnetism is switched on abruptly when the number of layers changes from 5 to 6 (or more). Such an abrupt transition has never been seen before.

This discovery could have a significant impact on data storage. 2.7 Zetabytes of data exist in the digital universe today (where 1 zetabyte is the equivalent of one sextillion (or 10 to the power of 21) bytes), and that amount is doubling every year. Only with new ideas and new materials can we continue to progress at this pace.**

Professor Coey, a Principal Investigator at AMBER and Emeritus Professor in Trinity’s School of Physics, is an authority on magnetism and its applications, was the first Irish member of the European Academy of Science and has received many honours and awards. On today’s announcement he said: “The discovery of such a tiny change to a material for the appearance of magnetism makes it possible to define magnetic structures on a nanoscale. The work shows how the addition of just one extra atomic layer can utterly change the magnetism. Now, the team are planning to use pinpoint electric fields or special molecules to turn on the magnetism of our 5-layer films, and explore potential applications in big data storage.”

* The full paper, “Imaging and control of ferromagnetism in LaMnO3/SrTiO3 heterostructures” by X. Renshaw Wang, C.J. Li, W.M. Lü, T.R. Paudel, D.P. Leusink, M. Hoek, N. Poccia, A. Vailionis, T. Venkatesan, J.M.S. Coey, E.Y. Tsymbal, Ariando en H. Hilgenkamp has appeared in the August 14, 2015 issue of Science.

** According to IBM Big Data Platform

Winners of our Research Image Competition were announced at our internal Quarterly event in June. Congratulations to Dr Niall McEvoy who won first place for his “Space Invaders” entry. The scanning electron microscopy image shows molybdenum disulphide crystals grown by chemical vapour deposition on a silicon substrate. This material, a semiconducting analogue of graphene, shows great promise for future applications in electronics and optolectronics.

2nd place was awarded to Damien Hanlon for his image composed of SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate) surfactant. Common soap is composed of a mixture of surfactants which in principle work similarly to the soap we use in the lab. In your kitchen soap sticks to stains and makes them water soluble, while in the lab they stick to materials also to make them stable in water!

Bird’s nest stadium in Beijing was the inspiration for Xiaoyun (Lily) He. Her scanning electron microscope image shows a layered structure of bulk nickel hydroxides. 2D sheets of these nickel hydroxides are of interest because of their electrochemical properties and potential applications in commercial alkaline rechargeable batteries.

A selection of images can be viewed on our Pinterest Board.

AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research Centre), the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin, announced today that it has entered into a licence agreement with Thomas Swan Ltd for the production of atomically thin 2D layered materials. The licences signed by Trinity College are for technologies developed by Professor Jonathan Coleman, Principal Investigator in AMBER, which builds on his 2014 global research breakthrough into the large-scale production of graphene.

Capitalising on its experience in the manufacture of graphene, Thomas Swan Ltd can now quickly scale the manufacture of 2D materials, such as boron nitride and molybdenum disulphide, which will be available from this summer.

These materials have unique properties including strength, flexibility and electrical conductivity. Their production and incorporation into a range of products will change the way many consumer and industrial products are manufactured. Potential applications include high strength plastics; extremely sensitive sensors for medical or chemical applications; foldable touch screens for mobile phones and laptops; super-protective coatings for wind turbines and ships; faster batteries with dramatically higher capacity than anything available today and advanced food packaging.

Professor Jonathan Coleman, Principal Investigator at AMBER and Professor of Chemical Physics in Trinity College Dublin, said: “Last year we signed a licence agreement with Thomas Swan Ltd. to scale up production and make high quality graphene available to industry globally. While graphene consists of a layer of carbon atoms, other 2D materials comprised of different combinations of atoms also have unique properties with potential widespread applications from mechanics, to printed electronics, energy generation and storage. Our collaborative research programme with Thomas Swan underlines the strength of our industry engagement programme and we are delighted that our partnership has led to the commercialisation of my research.”

“We are excited about this new phase in our 2D materials business which builds upon our graphene knowledge base,” said Harry Swan, Managing Director of Thomas Swan, “and we are delighted to be continuing our relationship with AMBER at Trinity College Dublin.”

Thomas Swan Ltd, who has partnered with the AMBER research team for two years have to date invested €750,000 in the research programme and began a further €250,000 collaboration in 2015, co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland, to explore and develop future applications of 2D materials.

About Thomas Swan
Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd. is an independent chemical manufacturing company. With offices and warehousing in the UK, USA and China and a global network of distributors, we service the domestic and international markets and export to over 80 countries worldwide.
Founded in 1926 in Consett, in the North East of England – still home to our manufacturing facilities – Thomas Swan today produces over 100 products, in kilogramme to multi-tonne quantities, and offers an experienced and flexible manufacturing service.
+44 (0)1207 505 131