The venture capital arm of German chemical company Evonik has invested in Nevada-based 3D-printed pharmaceutical company Laxxon Medical to bring mass production of 3D-printed tablets closer to reality.
The companies are teaming up to mass manufacture new multi-drug tablets using Laxxon’s patented 3D screen-printing technology and Evonik’s specialized polymer materials. The goal of this partnership is to improve drug delivery to patients while advancing the commercialization of 3D printed pharmaceuticals.
“Medication delivery is becoming more precise and increasingly targeted to specific patient groups,” said Thomas Riermeier, Head of Evonik’s Health Care Business Line.
“Collaborating with Laxxon will allow us to accelerate our activities in this important and emerging market.”
Commercialization of 3D printed pharmaceutical products
Additive manufacturing offers several advantages for clinical pharmaceutical drug development over traditional methods, such as greater personalization for each patient and on-demand drug delivery. While progress is being made in bringing 3D printed pharmaceuticals to market, challenges remain in transitioning the technology from the lab to clinical settings.
To date, Aprecia’s 3D-printed epilepsy drug Spritam is the only one to receive FDA approval, though other companies aren’t far behind. For example, global pharmaceutical company Merck entered into a joint project with EOS Group company AMCM to develop and produce 3D-printed tablets, initially for clinical trials and later for commercial manufacturing.
Meanwhile, researchers from UCL, USC and FabRX have successfully used volumetric 3D printing to make drug-loaded tablets in seconds, which is significantly faster than printing methods. current 3D deployed to produce pharmaceuticals.
Partnership between Evonik and Laxxon
Laxxon Medical has developed a new 3D screen printing technology specifically designed for the manufacture of structured tablets that allow the controlled release of drugs over time. The company’s Screen Printing Innovational Drug (SPID) technology allows multiple pharmaceutical ingredients to be combined into a single tablet via 3D printed layers.
The 3D screen printing method allows the internal structure of the pill to contain alternate layers of active ingredients and inert layers to allow different doses of drug to be released over time. The technique also allows multiple drugs to be layered on top of each other and essentially combines multiple pills into one.
One of the advantages of Laxxon’s screen printing method is its speed, which the company says is “significantly faster” than established 3D printing processes and could expand the manufacturing of 3D printed pharmaceuticals to mass production levels.
“This technology is ideal for patients,” said Bernhard Mohr, head of Evonik Venture Capital. “We expect fewer side effects from more controlled drug administration and having fewer pills reduces the risk of missing doses during the day.
“We are happy to support innovation that brings real benefits to people and their health.
With 60 years of experience in drug delivery systems, Evonik manufactures excipients which are inactive ingredients that serve as a carrier for a drug, such as polymers that act as a coating for tablets and allow the drug to be released over an extended period.
Through their joint product development agreement, Evonik’s products will be used in Laxxon Medical’s printing pastes to ensure targeted drug delivery in 3D printed tablets.
The investment from Evonik’s venture capital arm will also see the company manufacture the 3D printed tablets for Laxxon, whose size, geometry, internal structure and materials used combine to enable the ideal speed of reactions. chemicals in the body for optimal drug delivery.
“Evonik is the ideal partner to support the development of tablets with unique release properties,” said Helmut Kerschbaumer, co-founder of Laxxon Medical. “We are pleased to have one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies with whom we can further develop our products and at the same time manufacture them commercially.”
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Featured image shows Pharmaceuticals 3D printed using Laxxon Medical’s SPID technology. Photo via Laxxon Medical.