3D printing

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Despite still being viewed as a niche technology, 3D printing is increasingly making its presence in pharma. We believe that this innovation is opening up a world of new opportunities. As the applications of 3D printing in the pharmaceutical industry are numerous - ranging from clinical trial preparations and orphan drugs to personalized medicine and polypills.

In the past few years, we have seen a shift in the focus on 3D printing – from academic proof of the concept to industrial applications. For example the 3D printing of clinical trial preparations present a huge potential benefit. 3D printing offers high flexibility in drug loading and small batch sizes -  required in phase 1 and 2a clinical studies. This results in a costs-savings due to a reduction of the required amount of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and a shorter development time.  On-demand printing could further reduce the need for stability-improving measures and enable formulators to easily access features such as excipient inclusion.

DFE Pharma is at the center of 3D-printing innovation. We believe that by pooling our resources and knowledge, industry, innovators and academia can build the common evidence base we need to produce the medicines of the future.

We think there is a need to thoroughly understand the processes involved in order to further utilize this technology. As a leading excipient supplier, we play a valuable role in advising the right excipients and producing these. We have screened over 20 different lactose grades in order to be able to advise in the optimal lactose binder blends for 3D printing applications.

We are able to produce customized lactose-binder blends and provide mechanistic understanding of those excipient blends. This brings added value to formulation and speeds up the development time. Which is a perfect match for a new technology such as 3D-powder bed printing.

Korinde van den Heuvel, product developer at DFE Pharma, explains in this article  how hydrophilic/hydrophobic API's can be successfully formulated into 3D printed tablets using lactose binder blends.

Contact us for more information, or download our whitepaper on the huge potential that 3D printing offers in pharmaceutical manufacturing, from enabling personalized medicine to accelerating the drug development pathway.