Pharmaceutical and biotech products represent systems of variable complexity, ranging from relatively simple molecules (e.g., aspirin) to biopolymers (e.g., proteins and olygonucleotides), viruses, and cell (e.g., parasite vaccines). In many cases, such objects are unstable in their most "natural" form, i.e., with liquid water present. In order to achieve long-term stability, pharmaceutical and biotech materials are commonly converted (e.g., via freezing or drying) into solid materials. However, even in nominally "dry" systems, there is always some water present, and variations in the amount of water may result in major variability in stability and properties of pharmaceutical products.
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