We increasingly live in an age of personalized health care, where treatment can be tailored to suit individuals on a person-by-person basis. A new 3D printer aims to add another piece to this puzzle, by giving pharmacies the ability to quickly and easily produce custom doses of drugs for patients, based on their specific needs. That means that instead of patients on lots of medication having to remember to take three of one pill, two of another and so on, they could instead receive their required doses in vastly simplified form.
The toaster-sized AutoCompounder 3D printer responsible for this was created by a Rhode Island startup called Vitae Industries. It promises to print pharmaceutical pills and gummies in a third of the time that it takes for a pharmacist to fill a capsule by hand. The AutoCompounder will even be able to print complex “poly-pills,” which combine multiple medications into a single pill.
“The AutoCompounder platform helps pharmacies more efficiently produce custom-dose oral medications,” Vitae Industries CEO Jeanine Sinanan-Singh told Digital Trends. “Standard commercially available doses of many prescription drugs on the market are not right for many people. Enabling pharmacies to easily provide doses tailored to each individual’s needs may help transform medicine and improve the health of significant populations by treating the individual, not the mythical statistical average.”
It’s a great, albeit ambitious idea, and one that we sincerely hope Vitae Industries can pull of, since it could be a massive advance for many patients.The printer reportedly takes just 10 minutes to create its customized pills, and requires nothing more the pharmacist operating it to enter the drug and required dose, and then wait for the pills to be fabricated. The machine will also clean itself between printings, so there’s no risk of cross-contamination.
At present, the $5,000 machine has not been debuted, and Vitae declined to share any images of the AutoCompounder 3D printer with us. It’s certainly got investors interested, since they’ve so far pumped $2 million in venture funding into the startup. According to Sinanan-Singh, a limited pilot program release will start in the first quarter of 2018 with select pharmacies.