Crystal-clear - and colorful - discovery in Bristol Myers Squibb drug development lab

A compound's ability to form well-developed crystals like these is an important area of study in drug development.

September 26, 2021     

Every day, Bristol Myers Squibb colleagues and scientists come across images that highlight the wonders of science and the cutting-edge work of the company’s research teams. This image was submitted by Stacey Crawford, a scientist in Chemical Process Development, within the company’s Global Product Development and Supply (GPS) organization in New Brunswick.

It provides a microscopic view of crystals from a small molecular intermediate compound formed after going through a crystallization screening process. A compound’s ability to form well-developed crystals is an important area of study in drug development, with implications for a medicine’s eventual stability, strength, purity, manufacturing, and storage requirements.

Part of Crawford’s job is to determine the best conditions for crystal growth and evaluate the growing crystals through a microscope. The “birefringence” – bright, rainbow-like colors seen in the photo – are a sign of well-developed crystals.

“Every time I sit at the microscope is a chance to see something new and amazing,” Crawford said. “I get so excited when I see crystals like the ones shown in the photo because it means potential and possibilities. I know my group and the company are working toward something incredible in terms of innovation and for our patients.”

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