- Crystal growth from solutions. Solvent effects on morphology and crystal growth kinetics in polymorphic systems.
- Crystal polymorphism. Factors governing the competitive nucleation and growth of polymorphs, solvent mediated polymorphic transformations.
- Interaction of impurities and additives with crystal surfaces. The design and optimisation of surface active molecules to interact with and control processes involving crystallisation including polymorphism control, appearance of conglomerates over racemic compounds and morphological control.
- Preparation of molecular salts and co-crystals. Crystallisation of molecular salts and cocrystals and subsequent structure-activity relationships in such systems.
- Crystal nucleation from solutions. Molecular self-assembly in solution, measurement of nucleation kinetics. Links between kinetics and structure.
Professor Roger Davey is an international expert on the materials science of pharmaceutical and specialty chemical crystalline products. His fundamental scientific work has encompassed key aspects of the production, formulation and discovery of such materials as reflected in his (150 plus) publications on crystal chemistry and morphology, crystal growth, nucleation and polymorphism. His creativity and excellence in this field were rewarded in 2001 with an EPSRC senior research fellowship supporting the study of structural aspects of crystal nucleation. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Roger’s contribution originates from his work at ICI’s Corporate Laboratory, where between 1977 and 1992 he created and led a ‘crystal chemistry’ research group whose work on problems of crystal nucleation, crystal growth, crystal morphology and crystal polymorphism supported materials science projects across many of ICI’s businesses from explosives (ammonium nitrate, pentaerythritol tetranitrate), to inorganic materials (Ca(OH)2, CaCO3, BaSO4) to molecular crystals (dyestuffs, pigments, polymer intermediates, pharmaceuticals, non-linear optic materials) and polymers (polyhydroxybutyrate, dyesheets for thermal transfer printing). Roger developed a unique ‘crystal chemistry’ philosophy to research in this field which combined thermodynamics, kinetics and crystallography. This activity became well respected and highly successful both throughout the businesses of ICI and within the academic community. By the time Roger left ICI in 1992 to join AstraZeneca and subsequently (1995) the Department of Chemical Engineering at UMIST (now the University of Manchester), most pharmaceutical companies were realising the importance of this area in the context of process development, patent protection and product formulation and yet most had no expertise to tackle it. As a result of this, not only was Roger able to build a new research group at UMIST, but also Pharma businesses began creating their own ‘crystal chemistry’ groups based on the Davey model.
The new UMIST group pursued further fundamental work in this area and in 2001 Roger led the establishment of a Centre for Molecular Materials based at the University of Manchester and encompassing chemistry, pharmacy, materials science and chemical engineering activities. The success of this venture was reflected in its six academic staff, 10 post docs, 40 research students and funding running at around £7M and its subsequent incorporation into the Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry funded through the North West Development Agency.
Since 1997 Roger’s academic activity has provided a further 30 trained research scientists whose employment with agrochemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies (AstraZeneca, GSK, J&J, Novartis, Lilly, Orgenon Pfizer, Rhodia, Syngenta, Sanofi-Aventis, Unilever) has further exploited the ‘crystal chemistry’ philosophy and contributed significantly to current industrial practice.