U. Mich. Explores Drug Printing Technology

John Commins, October 4, 2017

The cutting edge technique is still a few years away from the marketplace, but it could have the potential to greatly expand the applications for prescription drugs and the way they are delivered.

University of Michigan researchers are working on a technology that can print pure, precise doses of prescription drugs onto various surfaces, which the developers believe could enable on-site printing of custom-dose medications at pharmacies, hospitals, and physicians’ offices.  

Max Shtein
Max Shtein

The technique can print multiple medications into a single dose on a dissolvable strip, microneedle patch or other dosing device. Researchers believe it could make life easier for patients who must now take multiple medications every day.

Max Shtein, professor of materials science and engineering at U of M, is leading the research. He spoke with HealthLeaders Media about the potential for the new technology. The following is a slightly edited transcript.  

HLM: How soon will we see this technology in the market place?

Shtein: We think that possibly within five years you might be able to see some applications of this technology. There are different bottlenecks associated with Food and Drug Administration approval, depending on the medications and the indications and the conditions you are trying to treat.

Normally FDA approval for any new medication or process for making a medication takes a while. There are certain conditions for which very few treatments are effective and those gets fast-tracked through the process. There are some possibilities for things to go a little faster. There are also possibilities for using this technology in research in the drug discovery and validation stages. We think that it’s going to be finding applications pretty soon, within five years.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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