Pharma giant Eli Lilly experimenting with 3D printing pills that more efficiently deliver medication to a person’s GI tract
- Eli Lilly is partnering with a Chinese firm, Triastek, to develop 3D printed drugs that can more efficiently deliver medication in a person’s body
- The Indiana-based pharma giant plans to develop drugs that will be used in the GI tract
- The drugs should allow for greater control as to how the drug dissolves and distributes itself in the body
- These types of devices are being researched more by experts around the world hoping to utilize the new technology to build better drugs
Pharma giant Eli Lilly is taking a bet on 3D printing technology being the next major breakthrough in medicine to treat gastrointestinal and other stomach issues.
The Indianapolis, Indiana, company is partnering with Chinese firm Triastek to develop drugs that will specifically target certain parts of the organs to precisely deliver medication to the most efficient areas to deal with infection.
The GI tract and stomach are both very acidic – which is necessary for the body to properly break down food – presenting a challenge for some medicines.
If successful, the pair of companies hope to develop oral medication that can withstand the acid’s effect on the pill and allow for more control as to how it diffuses in the body.
Eli Lilly is partnering with a Chinese firm, Triastek, to develop 3D printed drugs that can more efficiently deliver medication in a person’s body
‘The collaboration between Triastek and Lilly is a great example of applying MED technology for improving the oral delivery of drugs,’ Dr Senping Cheng, CEO of Triastek.
‘We envision that the MED technology of Triastek can be used to solve the challenges in formulations leading to the development of clinically valuable products for our global partners.’
Triastek is a biotech firm launched in 2015 wholly focused on applying 3D printing technology into pharmaceuticals.
As part of the partnership with Eli Lilly, it hopes to develop 3D printed drugs with coating that allows them to more closely measure how the drug is applied throughout the body.
The Chinese firm is working to developing a coating around drugs that contains active ingredients that will slowly be released as it transports through the body.
There is no available information as to what Lilly drugs are being tested using this technology and for what conditions they would be applied for if the research is successful.
Researchers are hoping that the technology will allow them to better deliver drugs by adding control to how they dissolve in the body (file photo)
Enteric coating has long been used in medicine to protect it from being destroyed in the stomach and intestine before it reaches its desired destination.
The coating is generally made from a polymer, though, and does not contain medication itself.
Once the coating is broken – and the drug has reached its desired location – the medication is usually released all at once.
Lilly and Triastek are hoping that they can develop a coating that can slowly release the medicine in a way designed to maximize its efficiency.
The research will be based on a MED 3D technology platform developed by the Chinese firm.
It constructs pills with very specific shapes and structures that optimize how they flow throughout the body and give developers more control over what happens to the drug after it is taken.
In 2020, this technology was accepted by the Food and Drug Administration as an emerging technology.
This is not the only research into distributing drugs more efficiently in a person’s body after ingestion.
Researchers at Rice University are hoping to soon launch human trials for their ‘drug factories’ – small ingestible device that delivers cytokines throughout the body to treat cancers.