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Inkjets Print Personalized Medications

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  • Inkjets Print Personalized Medications

    Added Scientific—a UK additive manufacturing consulting firm—has initiated a project with Xaar & AstraZeneca to look at the long-term scalability & suitability of using inkjet printing for the manufacture of personalized pharmaceutical pills.

    The project was funded under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Medicines Manufacturing Challenge, with support from Innovate UK. According to Craig Sturgess, Added Scientific’s Research Manager, “Trial research carried out previously has shown that inkjet offers a real potential for printed medicines, with the ability to digitally control precision placement of tiny droplets of a few pico-liters in size and the capability to place multiple materials to create complex multi-functional objects in 2D & 3D.”

    Based on research conducted by the University of Nottingham England, where excipients—everything but the Active (biological) Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)—have been developed, the Xaar 1201 printhead is proving to be instrumental to inkjet printing for manufacturing personalized pharmaceutical pills, where dosages can be tailored to individuals, but on an industrial scale. Alongside the experimental trials, conventional tablet manufacturing data from AstraZeneca was evaluated against the inkjet’s process times.

    Results from the pilot production trials found that of 1000 dosage forms manufactured in batches of 100, there were significant time-savings in unit process times using inkjet printing, compared to traditional manufacturing methods. There were also no issues found nor interaction with the API in the Xaar-1201 printhead, or impact on the printhead’s life.

    Craig concluded, “Our project has clearly shown that printing personalized medicines—with their advantages of dose & design freedom—is a scalable and economic reality for pharmaceutical companies.”


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