Jul 6, 2016 | By Alec

The future of 3D printed pharmaceuticals looks bright. Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, the developer of the first ever FDA-approved 3D printed prescription drug, just announced that they have entered into a debt financing agreement with Hercules Capital that is worth $30 million. As they revealed, those funds will be partly used to cover development and manufacturing costs for their first 3D printed pills, the epilepsy drug Spritam, while they will also use the funds to develop a more diverse range of 3D printed drugs.

That could be fantastic news for patients everywhere. For those of you who missed it, Aprecia is the pioneer of the ZipDose 3D printing technology, which was used to make Spritam. In a nutshell, it is a powder-liquid 3D printing technology that creates porous structures of pharmaceutical drugs, which rapidly disintegrate upon coming into contact with liquid. The technology itself grew out of MIT 3D printing innovations. Essentially, it creates a very efficient way of delivering high doses of a medication and makes pills very easy to swallow – one of the biggest obstacles faced by many patients around the world. When combined with custom dosages, these 3D printed fast-melt pills could fundamentally change the way patients are treated with drugs.

American pharmaceutical company Aprecia Pharmaceuticals has been leading the charge in this field, having started 3D printing on a commercial scale in 2008. “It was important that we identified disease areas with a real need for patient-friendly forms of medication,” Aprecia CEO Don Wetherhold said after receiving FDA approval. “Spritam is designed to transform what it is like to take epilepsy medication, and is the first in a line of products we are developing to provide patients and their caregivers with additional treatment options.”

Their Spritam is still the only FDA-approved 3D printed drug out there, but this new debt financing agreement could change that. Under the new agreement, Aprecia has received an initial sum of $20 million, with an additional $10 million following when an unnamed milestone is reached. Hercules Capital, which provided the funds, is one of the largest specialty finance companies in the world, and tend to focus on innovative venture capital-backed companies and high-tech and sustainable products. The transaction took place with financial and legal advice from Armentum Partners Morgan, and Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first multi-million dollar investment Aprecia secured. Earlier this year, Deerfield Management also led a $35 million venture round to make the launch of 3D printed Spritam possible. “Based on extensive market research conducted by the Deerfield Institute, we believe there is a substantial population of epilepsy patients, particularly children, who are not well served by existing formulations and will benefit from Spritam and the other epilepsy drugs in Aprecia's pipeline,” Deerfield’s Jonathan Leff said at the time.

Like that previous investment, the new funds will be used to increase Aprecia’s production capacity, while the company will also be looking to receive FDA approval for other products 3D printed with its ZipDose manufacturing system. While the company did not disclose what other drugs are on the agenda, more 3D printed pharmaceuticals are certainly on their way.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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