By Don Wetherhold
The growth of the pharmaceutical industry and its willingness to explore novel strategies in drug development and delivery is reshaping the industry and renewing interest in how to optimize therapies and increase precision in patient care. Specifically, innovations in science and technology are creating exciting opportunities to treat rare diseases and advance personalized medicine. However, traditional methods for development and manufacturing do not offer the efficiency and speed needed to keep pace with this evolution. In addition, rising brand and generic competition is adding to market pressures, as pharmaceutical manufacturers must seek approaches that address patient needs in more unique ways. These reasons are why it is critical that the industry explores other methods to maximize productivity and improve the patient experience.
In 2015, the approval of the epilepsy treatment Spritam created a potential avenue for doing so as it was the first prescription drug manufactured using 3D printing (3DP). 3DP, known as additive manufacturing, is ideal for pharmaceuticals because it offers enhanced precision in developing and formulating dosage forms. This presents a number of potential benefits for developing personalized medicines. Some examples include creating different dosage strengths to reduce pill burden or shapes of dosage forms to improve absorption or increasing compliance through faster dissolution, modified release profiles, and/or combination products.
These advantages allow drug companies to not only boost efficacy and adherence but also contribute to their brand longevity by expanding and capturing market share with other dosage form options. Through this breakthrough method of manufacturing and its fast-melt capabilities, there is an ability to overcome several obstacles, thereby contributing to better patient outcomes in the solid dose market.