Diarylureas are widely used in self-assembly and supramolecular chemistry owing to their outstanding characteristics as both H-bond donors and acceptors. Unfortunately, this bonding property is rarely applied in the development of urea-containing drugs. Herein, seven related dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) complexes were screened from 12 substrates involving sorafenib and regorafenib, mainly considering the substitution effect following a robust procedure. All complexes were structurally confirmed by spectroscopic means and thermal analysis. Specially, five cocrystals with three deuterated, named sorafenib·DMSO, donafenib·DMSO, deuregorafenib·DMSO, 6·DMSO, and 7·DMSO were obtained. The crystal structures revealed that all host molecules consistently bonded with DMSO in intermolecular interaction in a 1:1 stoichiometry. However, further comparison with documented DMSO complexes and parent motifs presented some arrangement diversities especially for 6·DMSO which offered a counter-example to previous rules. Major changes in the orientation of meta-substituents and the packing stability for sorafenib·DMSO and deuregorafenib·DMSO were rationalized by theory analysis and computational energy calculation. Cumulative data implied that the planarization of two aryl planes in diarylureas may play a crucial role in cocrystallization. Also, a polymorph study bridged the transformation between these ureas and their DMSO complexes.
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