Personalised and Printed Pills
A Helsinki startup has developed a ‘Medicine-as-a-Service’ system where drugs can be 3D printed to match the patient’s needs in terms of their size, physiology, species, and allergies.
According to CurifyLabs, the startup that created the system, there is one significant drawback to the existing methods of administering medication. CurifyLabs says that the pharma industry’s capital-intensive processes to produce large volumes of tablets that are identical in dose, shape, and size mean that these tablets may be unsuitable for treating patient populations who need more individualised treatments.
For example, these include:
– Pets, the variety of which varies widely, and each species may need different size/shape tablets for different conditions.
– Children, because they have specific needs due to their small body weight.
– The elderly, who often have trouble swallowing.
– Any patient group with minimal, suitable treatment options and benefit from tailored dosage forms must have allergen-free treatments.
These issues mean that many current drug treatments are suboptimal for these groups, resulting in undesirable side effects and poor treatment efficacy.
The Solution? Crucify MiniLab
According to Curify, the answer is to develop a small-scale manufacturing system which can be used effectively in a busy pharmacy, and that can produce personalised medicines of any size, shape, or flavour to exactly meet the needs of niche patient groups.
The Curify MiniLab, which looks a bit like a small, stainless steel-finished fridge/microwave size cabinet with lab technology and tools inside, enables on-site, sustainable, on-demand manufacture of medicines, customised to provide effective treatment for all patients. For example, it can be used in pharmacies (targeted primarily at pharmacists), clinics, veterinary practices, and other locations where tablets need to be dispensed.
Some of the critical tech elements of MiniLab are:
– A user-friendly platform, the company says, “turns pharmacy compounding into a digital experience”.
– 3D printing technology, giving control over the composition of tablets.
– A built-in quality control system and technology allow printing directly into blister packs.
Some of the key benefits of using the MiniLab are, for example:
– It could provide more effective treatments with fewer side effect risks for niche patient groups.
– It’s automated and seamless, requiring less attention/time from human workers and eliminating the human error risk (in the manufacturing process).
– The precise, small batch production of pills means less wastage.
– Being a self-contained, digitised unit with built-in quality control, it makes it easier and quicker to make high-quality, targeted medicines as and when required.
– It’s adaptable with many scopes, i.e. it can be used for many different niche patient groups, human or animal.
– Printing pills straight into blister packs makes it safer, i.e. no risks from human handling.
– The system being digital removes the need for manual paperwork (saving time and wastage) and enhances efficiency.
So what Does This Mean For Your Organisation?
Although the MiniLab is essentially targeted at pharmacies, giving them a fast, less labour-intensive way to more closely meet the needs of niche patient groups, it could be used in many other medical/clinical settings. This product is an example of how leveraging a combination of technologies can solve long-standing treatment problems and have significant human benefits.
It is also another example of how, as in so many industries now, 3D printers are being used in innovative ways to simplify manufacturing challenges. If this product (and others like it) proves successful, it may even change how we treat illness and lead to medicines that treat you as an individual by tailoring drugs precisely to your body. As highlighted by Curify, doing so may “remodel the world of health”.