3D-printed supplement pill releases vitamins throughout day
Fri 5 Aug 2016
Researchers at health startup Multiply Labs have developed a 3D-printed personalised pill which is able to release desired dosages of dietary supplements throughout the day.
The company described a half-inch pill which would allow a user to take their normal ‘health-boosting’ vitamins in the morning, and perhaps a ‘burst of caffeine’ later in the afternoon. The prototype is based on drug release technology developed by teams at MIT and the University of Milan.
The process, outlined in the study 3D Printing by Fused Deposition Modeling of Capsular Devices for Oral Pulsatile Release Based on Swellable/Erodible Polymers, involves a 3D-printed hollow capsule made from HPC-based filaments, which can be tailored to different sizes and shapes, and adjusted to contain different compartments for supplements. The different sized walls can be programmed to dissolve at various times, allowing for the drugs to be delivered throughout the day.
‘The release test of assembled capsular devices pointed out a lag phase before rapid and quantitative liberation of the drug. The possibility of manufacturing capsular devices for oral pulsatile release by FDM 3D printing starting from HPC filaments was thus demonstrated,’ the team explained in the research paper.
Multiply Labs‘ mapping algorithm allows for accurate pill recommendations based on individuals’ preference for supplement type and quantities. This means that clients can choose which supplements they want, or they can pick a system-designed cocktail based on metrics they provide.
Ingredients include caffeine, Omega-3, amino acids, and minerals and vitamins such as B6, B12, and D3 among others.
A batch of 15 pills, now available for pre-order, costs $19 (approx. £15). The product is expected to start shipping in May next year. Early clients will also have the opportunity to participate in product beta testing and to contribute in its further development.
Mutiply Labs is not the first pharmaceutical organisation to venture into 3D-printed capsules. The FDA-approved Spritam, for treating epilepsy, was made available earlier this year.