How vat photopolymerisation will disrupt the medical and pharmaceutical fields

March 30, 2021 | Featured

Researchers at FabRx and the UCL School of Pharmacy have recently published a review article (link) summarising the multitude of ways in which vat photopolymerisation, a type of 3D printing, has the potential to revolutionise the medical and pharmaceutical fields. Vat photopolymerisation is suitable for both advanced drug delivery and medical device applications. It is forecast that adoption of 3D printing technologies, such as vat photopolymerisation, could pave the way for a personalised healthcare system, advancing from traditional, uniform treatment pathways towards digital, tailored healthcare.

Vat photopolymerisation involves a tank of curable material that is selectively solidified, layer by layer, using a light source to produce a solid object, see Figure 1 below. There are numerous different types of vat photopolymerisation which are explored fully in the review article.


Figure 1: A schematic of vat photopolymerization technology


There are a number of ways of producing advanced dosage forms and medical devices using vat photopolymerisation as demonstrated in Figure 2 below. Either you can produce a blank 3D printed device which is then either coated in drug product or dipped in a solvent containing the drug to allow the drug to permeate into the product. The second method is actually the addition of the drug directly in the curable material and printing a drug-loaded product in a single step. In both cases, the drug can be released into the body through dissolution.


Figure 2: Vat photopolymerization 3D printing for the fabrication of drug delivery systems.


Needless to say, the future of healthcare is one in which personalised dosing is the norm, and 3D printing will be the technology of choice.


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 using 3D printed personalised doses, 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. Recently, FabRx won the Excellence in Pharma: Manufacturing Technology and Equipment Award at the prestigious CPhI Pharma Awards for the M3DIMAKER™. 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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