How SLS is used to 3D print personalized Medicine – FabRx Customer Story

Hi everyone, I’m Fabrizio, I’m from Italy. And I’m doing a PhD at
UCL School of Pharmacy in London. I’m working on 3D printing in
collaboration with FabRx. And during my project I’m basically
printing oral formulations using 3D printing. We are actually the first group
in the world to investigate selective laser sintering to make medicine. My name is Professor Simon Gaisford. I work at UCL, I’m head of pharmaceutics. And I’m also director and co-founder of FabRx. We originally looked at 3D printing
as a research tool. And then decided there was
a commercial opportunity. So we set up FabRx as a spin-out from the University. And its specific aim is to focus and develop on
3D printing for pharmaceutical dosage forms. We were very interested in
selective laser sintering. Because we don’t need to use a liquid as a binder
we just use a powder and a laser. And the precision of the laser is something
we were looking for. So one of our research directors found Sintratec
as a manufacturer of SLS systems. And it was a system that we hadn’t been able
to purchase before because the cost is very high. But because you supply a system which can be
kit built, it was a very affordable system. And so it’s an opportunity to explore
a technology we couldn’t use before. We bought our first Sintratec Kit and
then we tried to print the first tablets using paracetamol
and we managed to print them. So we dissolved those tablets,
we checked the amount of drug inside and surprisingly we realized there was no
drug degredation – the drug was still there. And it was a very very happy moment. By 3D printing we can personalize medicine. We can make tablets with
unconventional 3D structures. And we can make tablets
with different release profiles just by changing the printing parameters. The big advantage of the Sintratec Kit is actually
that we can customize the printing parameters. We can choose the ideal temperature
and the ideal laser speed. We can start from 1 millimeter per
second up to 1000 millimeters per second. And in that big range we can actually
make very different products with different strengths,
which dissolve at different times. just by changing the laser speed. We use the printers actually every day. We need to optimize the printing process,
find the right parameters. We are testing new polymers and
every printing process might last 20 minutes and I am able to print up to 20 tablets. We started using the Sintratec Kit
two years ago – it was in 2017. Since then we already published four articles
in international journal of pharmaceutics. We started to have more ideas,
that’s when we decided to invest on a second kit. And since then our research is much faster
and we can be much more effective. I think of all the techniques
that we’ve evaluated Laser Sintering is up there as one that we think
is one of the most promising techniques for bringing products to market. It means that we can make an
almost infinite number of doses. So we can tailor a dose to a patient. We can put more than one active
into a particular dosage form. And so to be able to formulate drugs for
very small numbers of patient groups is going to allow us to offer medication
for people with rare or poorly studied diseases. And I think that is fundamentally going to change the way that
the pharmaceutical industry has to formulate drugs. I see a very big potential in this technology. And I’m sure in the future this technology
will play a major role in the pharmaceutical industry.

1 comment

  1. Amazing how quickly those tablets dissolve! Superb stuff! Can't wait for the day when I can get an SLS machine!

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