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First 3D Printed Pill To Be Manufactured In Blue Ash

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals will start manufacturing the first FDA approved 3D printed pill in October in Blue Ash. Full production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

The pill is SPRITAM? for epilepsy patients and could be taken by as many as 3 million adults and children in the U.S. who suffer from seizures. Aprecia's next set of drugs will also be for the central nervous system. The  company says it has also formulated about 100 different prototypes for various other over-the-counter and RX products.

Advantages of 3D printed pills

  • Aprecia says they dissolve quickly and are designed for people who have difficulty swallowing
  • They can carry a heavy drug load, up to 1,000 mg
  • They can be customized: harder on the outside, printed in' grayscale' on the inside with fewer drops per nanometer, and prevent counterfeiting with a word printed on the inside of the tablet

Here's how it works:

Aprecia's COO Rob Williford calls it the wow factor, when describing the quick dissolving rate of the 3D printed pill. "You can't believe it when you take it because it almost evaporates in your mouth."

The company gained worldwide attention in August when the announcement of FDA approval came for the first 3D printed pill. Aprecia CEO Don Wetherhold said it went viral with 1.5 billion impressions out in the marketplace.

His company may partner with others to print more drugs with a 3D printer. "We believe there are many products we're going to do in multiple therapeutic areas and indications are from a service perspective there would be many opportunities for us to work in collaboration with other pharmaceutical companies if we want to go down that route."

What's next?

This may be a ways off, but in a 2012 TED talk Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow described a new approach to 3D printing that could enable patients to print their own medicines at home.