Merck KGaA, AMCM/EOS co-operate in 3D printing of tablets

27 Feb 2020

A cooperation agreement between German pharma firm Merck KGaA and additive manufacturing specialist AMCM on 3D printing of tablets could eventually lead to scalable active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) formulation and faster, cheaper production, the two companies said Thursday.

The pharma industry sees much potential in 3D printing technology as it offers potential solutions to the challenges around producing personalised medicines and tailored dosages. AMCM offers customized additive manufacturing solutions and is a sister company of 3D printing leader EOS.

Merck KGaA,  AMCM/EOS co-operate in 3D printing of tablets

The partnership will initially target GMP-compliant tablet formulation development and production for clinical trials before extending to commercial manufacturing services.

“Our partnership with AMCM/EOS could revolutionize the way tablets are produced. It will be a massive move towards digitalization of the industry,” said Isabel de Paoli, chief strategy officer at Merck. “Our goal is to develop the industrial application of this technology, which we will make available for clinical trials first, and then move to full digital solutions at commercial scale.”

Marie Langer, CEO of EOS said the co-operation combines Merck’s formulation and excipient expertise with AMCM's additive manufacturing know-how to "help make drug development more flexible and faster.”

The basis of the technology is using powder bed fusion methods -- whereby a laser melts and fuses powder together layer by layer -- to simplify the clinical development process of drugs, the firms said.

It is hoped that 3D printing will make API formulation scalable while avoiding costly reformulations throughout pharmaceutical development and commercial production processes.

According to the two companies, the vision is to achieve flexible and sustainable local tablet production that meets specific market requirements as well as adapting to patient needs.

A project teams at Merck's Innovation Center at its Darmstadt headquarters is working on next-generation tablet manufacturing through 3D printing.

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