September 28, 2020 | Press Release
FabRx, the biotechnology start-up that launched M3DIMAKER™, the world’s first commercial pharmaceutical 3D printer for the manufacture of personalised medicines, has recently showcased M3DISEEN, a novel AI platform to aid in the design of 3D printed medicines. The web-based software (available at http://m3diseen.com) uses machine learning techniques to accelerate and improve the process of designing 3D printed medicines (Figure 1). A significant leap towards the goal of truly personalised medicines that will revolutionise the way 3D printed medicines are designed today. This highly anticipated project was conducted in collaboration with researchers at University College London -School of Pharmacy (UK) and at IRLab from University of A Coruña (Spain).
Figure 1. The AI lifecycle for 3D printed pharmaceuticals. Design, predict, print and learn.
Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is one of the most commonly used 3D printing techniques in pharmaceutical research, involving the extrusion of a drug loaded filament through a heated nozzle (Figure 2). However, the preparation of such filaments through hot melt extrusion (HME) is challenging, whereby drug and excipients are mixed, heated and transformed into a filament. This process is challenging and time-consuming, relying heavily on trial-and-error formulations.
Figure 2. The HME and FDM 3D printing process.
M3DISEEN has been designed to predict key parameters regarding filament production and the subsequent printing of Printlets™ (3D printed tablets) based on the drug and other materials being used. Users have the ability to select specific drugs and excipients from an extensive list of materials, alter the proportions of each material, and predict the parameters that are most likely to produce a high-quality filament and Printlets. The AI platform was trained and tested using hundreds of custom-made formulations produced over six years to ensure the highest level of accuracy and utility. It was designed using a combination of machine learning techniques to ensure the highest accuracy when predicting the fabrication parameters.
This new technology has the potential to revolutionise the 3D printing of pharmaceuticals by removing the need for high-level knowledge of the properties of materials individually and in combination. As such the design process is streamlined, saving crucial time and resources in early formulation development. Furthermore, M3DISEEN has the potential to be applied to other 3D printing techniques such as direct powder extrusion (DPE), one of the several innovative technologies implemented in FabRx’s M3DIMAKER™.
(Additional info www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037851732030822X)
Background on FabRx
FabRx Ltd was established in 2014 by leading academics from University College London (UCL) and is recognised as a world leader in the application of 3D printing technology for medicines and medical devices. Since its initiation, FabRx has developed over seven different types of pharmaceutical 3D printers and in 2017 were awarded with the TCT Best Start Up Award. In 2019, FabRx conducted a world first clinical study utilising their Printlets™ technology. In early 2020, following a grant from Innovate UK totalling near £1 million, FabRx launched M3DIMAKER™, the world’s first personalised medicine 3D printer. FabRx’s founders have a wealth of experience in all aspects of oral drug formulation and knowledge of the challenges of bringing new medicines through regulatory processes of the pharmaceutical sector.
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