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What 3D Printing Could Mean for Students in R&D Pharmaceutical Training

R&D pharmaceutical courses

Research and development (R&D) can often be the most costly, time-consuming sector of the pharmaceutical industry. An established pharma group can afford to invest millions of dollars into the production of a new product, but recent technological progress can potentially reduce overall costs and get better, safer, quality products to consumers.

3D printing is not a new invention but its highly customizable nature has led to its proliferation among a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical. New manufacturing technology such as 3D printing can change the nature of manufacturing itself as contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) shift from centralized rendering to local or automated manufacturing. Read on to learn of the potential changes 3D printing can bring to pharmaceutical R&D.

3D Printing can Improve Product Development

The capability of digital printing to streamline pharmaceutical industry products and facilities also extends to research and development. 3D printing can be introduced to a variety of sectors, from prototyping to packaging to tissue sampling. Bioprinting, a subset of 3D printing involving the production of living tissues, can eliminate the need for animal testing.

3D-printed packaging can be user-friendly and easily customized
3D-printed packaging can be user-friendly and easily customized

The use of bioprinted material gives students in R&D pharmaceutical training an inexpensive means of testing drugs which does not compromise product safety and reduces outgoing development costs. 3D printing allows researchers to revise, customize and optimize an individual product’s functionality. It also enables the capability of identifying and correcting design issues, which can further increase the safety and efficacy of the final product.

Personalized Medicine and R&D Pharmaceutical Training

Personalized medicine, also known as tailored or precision medicine, is a model of treatment that separates individuals into groups, with the individual client receiving medical products and practice according to their precipitated need. Medicine and medical treatment is projected to become more personally nuanced as technological capabilities progress, and this includes R&D pharmaceutical courses.

The use of 3D printing introduces the idea of ‘on-demand’ drugs
The use of 3D printing introduces the idea of ‘on-demand’ drugs

New computer-aided procedures and techniques can lead to individualized small batch production, which improves patient compliance. Personalized drug administration and on-demand manufacturing might seem far-fetched, however, the US FDA has already approved a 3D-printed drug for market, further indicating future feasibility of customized, 3D-printed medication.

Current Trends and Future Projections

One of the main benefits and detractions of any technological progress is that it occurs quickly. While it is impossible to truly predict the extent of how the pharmaceutical industry will adopt 3D printing, contemporary trends and attitudes can be a good indication of future behaviour.

Compliance and innovation are often at the cost of one or the other. Product consistency and consumer protection means conducting a longer clinical trial, but if a high quality drug can be reproduced at a low cost with low chances of human error, that time can potentially be reduced. Approval by institutions such as the FDA is a positive sign that indicates an increasing chance of industry acceptance and further adoption of 3D-printing techniques.

Do you want to attend pharmaceutical school and begin a career in an advancing industry?

Contact the Toronto Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology for more information.

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