Drugs of the future



Could 3D Printers Manufacture the Drugs of the Future?

You can now use 3D printing to create items using a wide range of filaments, and not just plastics. Metals, edibles, bio and construction materials are just some of the examples that are being developed for 3D printing.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Spritam, an epilepsy medication made using 3D printers.

This makes Spritam the first 3D printed product approved by the FDA for use inside the human body.

The company that developed it, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, used powder-liquid three-dimensional printing (3DP) technology, which was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the late 1980s as a rapid-prototyping technique. Rapid prototyping is the same technique used in 3D printing.

According to the company, this specific process was expanded into tissue engineering and pharmaceutical use from 1993 to 2003.

After acquiring exclusive license to MIT’s 3DP process, Aprecia developed the ZipDose Technology platform. The medication delivery process allows high doses of up to 1,000 mg to rapidly disintegrate on contact with liquid. This is achieved by breaking the bonds that were created during the 3DP process.

If you advance the technology a decade or more, having the medication you need printed at home is not that implausible. While big-pharma may have something to say about it, new business opportunities will be created that will be able to monetize the technology.

As impressive as that sounds, there are many more medical applications in the pipeline.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a website with an extensive database of 3D printing applications in the medical field. This includes the NIH 3D Print Exchange special collection for prosthetics, which lets you print next generation prosthetics at a fraction of the cost of the ones now being sold in the marketplace.

The next evolution in the field of medicine is printing complex living tissues. Also known as bio-printing, the potential applications in regenerative medicine is incredible.

In conjunction with stem cell research, printing human organs is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Currently different body parts have been printed, and the days of long transplant waiting lists will eventually become a thing of the past.

It’s important to remember that a lot more goes into the creation of a medication or other medical break-through than just being able to “print” drugs. Other costs include intensive research and development and then exhaustive testing.

So there’s no reason to believe 3D printing alone will allow smaller drug firms to more effectively compete with huge pharmaceutical firms. But the break through will certainly create more opportunities in the medical industry for companies of all sizes.

Outside of medicine, 3D printing has been used to print cars, clothes and even guns, which goes to prove the only limitation of this technology is your imagination.

Many of the technologies we use today were developed many years ago, but they take some time before they are ready for the marketplace.

3D printing is one great example. It was invented in 1984, but its full potential is just now being realized.

In 2012, The Economist labeled this technology as, “The Third Industrial Revolution,” and that sentiment has been echoed by many since then. This has generated unrealistic expectations, even though it is evolving at an impressive rate.


by Michael Guta | Aug 10, 2015

3D re-printer

From discarded plastic bottles to 3D printing filament; the industry provides yet another outlet for sustainable recycling! 🙂


3D Re-printer

Global warming, chemical and physical pollution and other environmental issues are no longer the far removed issues they once used to be. The world is changing quickly as a result of human life and people are finally starting to take note. In contrast to life fifty years ago, environmental issues have become such potential imminent threats that it seems everyone has a general awareness of their existence.

Companies are now morally obligated to conduct environmentally friendly business practices and include them in their code of ethics. Whether by recycling or using energy-saving electricity, everyone seems to be doing something to lessen the carbon footprint.

3D printing and the environment

3D printing has garnered some negative attention for the amount of plastic it wastes. To combat this many companies have attempted to reduce the environmental harm caused by 3D printing. There are companies like ProtoPrint and The Plastic Bank who kill two birds with one stone by employing underprivileged people to pick up and sort through plastic waste that is then converted into 3D printer filament. There are also people trying to steer away from plastic completely, like researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology who are developing a way to produce printer filament from foods like spinach, cocoa and rice.

Leading 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems even made a 3D printer called the Ekocycle that extrudes recycled plastic bottles and uses them as filament to build products. Now, a team of designers has followed suit and created a 3D printer that has an automatic built-in plastic waste extruder.

Designers Yangzi Qin, Yingting Wang, Luckas Fischer and Hanying Xie have created what they call the 3D Re-printer. The machine works by recycling plastic bottles and converting it into raw material for 3D printing. The 3D Re-printer isn’t publicly released yet and there isn’t much information available online, but the designers revealed details of its basic functions.

“Plastic products and waste material are part of our daily lives, be it at home, in school or the office,” writes the team on itsdesign concept photo. “We don’t know where to put most of these products, or feel that it is such a waste. The quantity of plastic waste is constantly rising and thus affecting our lives in the future and causing damage to the environment due to huge landfills and the long time it takes to degrade. In addition it affects the overall beauty of our cities by creating “visual pollution.” 3D-Reprinter is a device design that allows the user to recycle the home waste plastic bottles into new products.”

From the little available information on the 3D Re-printer, it seems almost identical in functionality to 3D Systems’ $1,199Ekocycle. The 3D Re-printer doesn’t have a listed price tag yet, but if its designers choose to sell it for a relatively reasonable cost then it may be worth looking into.

by Shanie Phillips | Sep 15 2014 , 11:24:42

Malta.CC’s Malta 3D Printing feature

We are happy to announce that Malta 3D Printing has been featured on Malta’s Online Community Center aka Malta.CC!


Malta is rapidly becoming Europe’s tiny technological hotspot. With a national digital strategy underway and an ever-growing population of educated, tech-savvy graduates, it’s no surprise that Malta embraces every technological trend with open arms.

The latest wave of innovation to hit the island is 3D printing. It works by printing layers of material such as metal, plastic or biomaterial, breathing life into a basic 3D model.

At the forefront of the local industry is ‘Malta 3D Printing’, an online store with an office in Birkirkara. Led by David Nikolai Andrews, their business model focuses on customisation and step-by-step customer support.

Common items printed by Malta 3D Printing range from full-sized video game inspired models, to trinkets, movie set props and architectural models.

Pioneers in the 3D printing industry are already changing people’s lives – successfully printing blood cells, artificial limbs and entire houses. Clearly, this industry will one day have a huge impact on our day-to-day lives, influencing medicine, homebuilding and design, amongst others.

The experienced, friendly staff at Malta 3D Printing are proud to be taking part in this exciting journey in technology.

As one of the fastest growing companies in the field, Malta 3D Printing wish to honour their success in 2014 by launching a price match guarantee.

The company boasts a number of 3D printers, and prints in materials including ABS, PLA, Nylon, Rubber and NinjaFlex – an extra flexible plastic.

The team at Malta 3D Printing (link) can be reached via their main Facebook page, with their website currently under construction. Contact them if you want your ideas turned into reality.

BY · JUNE 16, 2014