Dec 15, 2017 | By Benedict

Rhode Island startup Vitae Industries has developed a 3D printer that can print pharmaceutical pills and gummies. The AutoCompounder 3D printer can make these drugs in a third of the time it takes to fill capsules by hand.

Taking medication is a daily ritual for a huge number of people. And for the sick and elderly, it can actually be incredibly complex: three of these pills before midday; two of these other ones before dinner time; two more before bed…it’s no wonder those in the medical sector are looking for ways to improve and simplify the world of pharmaceuticals.

The AutoCompounder 3D printer from Rhode Island startup Vitae Industries is one way in which taking and making drugs could be about to get much easier. The company’s new machine, which measures around 600 x 600 x 600 mm, is able to print pills and gummies in around one-third of the time and effort it takes to fill capsules by hand, which means pharmacies can serve more patients in less time and provide those patients with a simplified prescription.

But the creators of the AutoCompounder have bigger plans for their pharmaceutical 3D printer. They think that, with a technology that can fabricate pills with personalized medicines and dosages, pharmacists will be able to print “poly-pills,” combining several medications in a single pill to make drug taking much simpler for patients.

Of course, making personalized medication for individual patients is more time-consuming than the mass production of standard-dosage pills, but the AutoCompounder is purportedly fast enough to make personalization a viable route.

The soon-to-be-unveiled machine utilizes a three-step process that involves first preparing a pharmaceutical compound—a mix of drugs and Vitae Industries’ “proprietary excipient blend”—before filling a disposable cartridge with the compound and clipping it to the AutoCompounder. Finally, the operating pharmacist simply enters a dose, pushes a button, and waits for the 3D printer to make the customized pills.

Impressively, printing only takes around 10 minutes, and the machine even cleans up after itself. Perhaps more importantly, it also verifies dosages after fabrication, so patients can rest assured that no foreign medications end up in their daily intake.

It’s a concept that has drawn a number of investors to the Rhode Island company, which was formed by high school friends Jeanine Sinanan-Singh (25) and Daniel DeCiccio (26). To date, Vitae Industries has raised around $2 million from investors that include BoxGroup, Techstars, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

Clearly, these businesses see profitability in the AutoCompounder, which Vitae Industries intends to sell for $5,000 apiece. A further monthly subscription fee will be charged for maintenance and software updates.

Vitae Industries is currently testing its prototype alongside a handful of pharmacists ahead of planned mass production next year.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer

 

 

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