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FabRx: Connecting the Manufacturing Product with 3D printing Technology

Let’s start with the claims made by the company about itself on its About Us page.

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A paragraph just left next to a black and white image which has many machines arranged one beside the other on desks, making it seem as if a laboratory, starts by crediting the creation of FabRx at the University of London.

The leading academics at the mentioned university carried passion in their hearts for developing better medicines using 3D printing technology.

It is very obvious to assume the “we” in that paragraph about the team of FabRx, which is claimed to believe in a world where medical treatment can be personalized to the individual needs of each patient in terms of 1) Dosage, 2) Shape, 3) Size and 4) Dose. personalized.

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Not only that but also the on-site production in pharmacies and clinical trial units can be personalized, rather than the standard way of producing medicines.

Instead of mentioning “could be” the company has dared to mention “is” when talking about how the method of personalized medicine can be more effective than the current one and be associated with better patient outcomes.

The starting year of the company was 2014. The company started as a small group of a start-up with a big vision and used patented technologies.

Claims are that these bunch of people provided a novel and flexible platform for producing personalized medicine for revolutionizing medical treatment for patients around the world.

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The claim ends with a very audacious statement claiming the future of medicine to be 3D.

Instead of keeping the animated pictures of the unknown in the background of About Us, the company could have, if they wished to, adjusted the introduction of their team members, which they have done before the webpage ends.

You have the opportunity to read bios of six individuals, four amongst which are founding partners and directors of the company, there is one business development manager, and one senior software engineer.

There are six different tabs on the website of the company including the About Us tab, which we have already explored.

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So, let’s now go to the Technologies tab.

Our Take on the Technology tab of the company

FabRx Technology

In the background picture of the text “Technologies,” those who know about 3D printing technology will be able to recognize the nozzle printing as a part or functional prototype is given to them.

And for those who do not know much about the technology would get to know by reading our article, about what the image exactly is about.

When you slide down to section two of this webpage, you get to see the video on the picture when they have chosen to display to you until you actually play it and the text on the right titled:

The world’s first pharmaceutical 3D printer for personalized medicines. Before which there is another title i.e.

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M3DIMAKER

One would have to take the effort of asking the company, how to pronounce this name?

Whether the pronunciation of it will be as we pronounce the word “Medimaker,” or “M3Dimaker”?

Getting on to the features of this printer, the company claims it to have a system that contains a sleek hardware system enabling printing using different nozzles whereas the system is controlled by specialized software which allows the user to select the required dose as prescribed by a pharmacist according to the prescription given by the clinician.

The manufacturing reliability of this printer can be known by its incorporation of modern fingerprint access control.

For monitoring the entire printing process the in-built camera is present in the printer.

Fifty-one seconds long video starts with two hands on a laptop, placed on the left to this printer with exciting music going on in the background.

The fingerprint sensor attached to this printer is shown in that video and the person whose hands start the video is placed on that sensor at a point in the video where the captions state “Easy to Use.”

The next scene in the video shows you the working of this printer nozzle in making some part or functional prototype, and vibrating a little bit.

Excited people who are curious to know about the technology on which this printer is working get to know at this point that it is Fused Deposition Modeling.

The printer uses a direct power extrusion for giving the nozzle the material to 3D print.

The video ends by claiming how this 3D printer is suitable for research, drug development, and clinical needs.

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3D printing technologies based on which 3D printers of FabRx are based

3D printing technologies based on which 3D printers of FabRx are basedCredit: manufactur3dmag.com

Both, Fused Deposition Modeling as well as Direct power extrusion are explained in a paragraph just after the above-mentioned section ends on this webpage.

Information about the other two 3D printing technologies i.e. SLA and SLS are given in the next two sections before the webpage ends.

Fused Deposition Modeling

As most of you associated with 3D printing technology would know, this is the technology based on which, currently, the working of most 3D printers is.

The printers owned by FabRx that are based on FDM 3D printing technology melt a mixture of drugs and excipients via a nozzle into the build plate for constructing a dosage form layer by layer, for doing this FabRx manufactures its own filaments that contain pharmaceutical grade materials.

That can be loaded for creating sustained or delayed tablet releases with multi-drug combinations.

Direct Power Extrusion

The company claims this technology to be a novel 3D printing technology that is made by FabRx. This technology involves extrusion of the powdered material which in this case is a mix of drug and excipients via a nozzle using a single screw extruder. Single-step creation of medicines and medical devices is possible using this technology.

SLS and SLA

The former uses a laser source for converting powdered material into solid parts, in FabRx’s case this powder would be drug instead of metal as in the general Selective Laser Sintering manufacturing procedure.

Whereas in the later the manufacturing of drugs happens by resin. As claimed by the company it can incorporate drugs into the polymer network for producing drug-loaded prints as well as sustained medical devices.

After having explored the About Us as well as Technologies section on the website, let’s navigate the Printlets section.

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Printlets

Printlets

This webpage is divided into four sections on the website.

  1. Personalized Dosages: Specific dosages, shapes, sizes, and release profiles for patients’ clinical needs can be created by FabRx’s proprietary Printlets technology.
  2. Polypills: Innovative printing technologies of FabRx enable it to produce medicines that contain more than one drug which the company calls Polypills with aid of medication adherence.
  3. Chewable Medicines: As the outside world currently is known to see medicines i.e. in the chewable form, so is what can be developed using machines of FabRx. Similar shapes, flavor, and color can be achieved.
  4. Fast Dissolving Tablets: Rapidly disintegrating tablets which can dissolve completely in the mouth can be created using FabRx’s printers.

All of these options come with a further option of contacting the company further, clicking on which opens up a completely new webpage that contains the address of this company, with its email id and telephone number with a link to their social media accounts.

On each and every webpage you have an option to Get in Touch with the company if you have queries or comments about the website or productions or services of the company.

Clicking on that option opens up the same webpage which gets opened when you click on Contact us for further details.

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News and Research

The news tab on the website is a seven-page long webpage, whereas the Research is one page long but contains sections divided in the form of years after the company was founded.

Each page on the News webpage of the website, except for the seventh one which contains only one, contains six news articles starting with the Awards won by the company. So in all, there should be thirty-seven articles.

The Research tab contains information about seven years and how the research of this company has progressed since then.

After having covered every tab on the website, we will now state the information about the homepage of the website and our take on it.

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Fabrx the Company

FabRx homepage

The company wants to dazzle you by claiming “The Future of Medicine is 3D,” and a video that shows pills on a surface, introducing FabRx Ltd as a specialist biotech company that is revolutionizing innovative 3D printing technologies.

Scrolling down you find the name of the printer with which the company claims to manufacture personalized drugs, above the name of this printer there is a unique design which looks like a thumb/fingerprint, at the core of that finger or thumbprint is the typical design of a standard pill which makes it look very intriguing.

According to the company’s claim, this is the first pharmaceutical 3D printer for personalized medicine.

Just after the claim, you find three pictures:

  1. Of the arrangement and complete setup of this printer.
  2. The print bed and nozzle system of the printer.
  3. The logo of the company on the printer.

The next section on the home page mentions

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Key features of this printer

Printlets 3D printerCredit: fabrx.co.uk

  • User-friendly software.
  • Multi-nozzle printing system.
  • Portable and versatile.
  • In-line quality control measures.
  • Assured security.
  • Affordable cost.
  • Suitable for research, drug development, and clinical practice.

Right after the end of the features, you are given an option to Find out more about the printer.

Clicking on this option would direct you to the Technologies tab of the website. A complete section after the features is dedicated to stating only “Our Printlets.”

The section after this consists of information about Printlets technology which is the proprietary technology of this company that helps them create a range of personalized medicines that are composed of specific dosages, shapes, sizes, and release profiles.

A workflow is also shown which starts with Design and ends with Dispense, with development in the middle.

Again a Find out More option is present, clicking on which leads to the webpage dedicated to Printlets on the website.

The next section consists of Technology in which:

  1. Direct power extrusion.
  2. Fused Deposition Modeling.
  3. Selective Laser Sintering.
  4. Semi-solid extrusion.

Are mentioned. But strangely enough, there is no mention of semi-solid extrusion on the webpage dedicated to Technologies where you would be directed after clicking on Finding Out More. Instead, the mention is about Stereolithography.

The section after this one is interesting as it states about three Services and Capabilities of the company which leads to an explanation of those three as soon as you drag your mouse’s cursor on them.

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Services and Capabilities

The section starts with Pre-clinical Formulation Development which changes to Rapid Dose Evaluation and In Vitro and in Vivo Testing as soon as you drag your mouse’s cursor on it.

The second section is the Early Phase Clinical Trials that changes to First-in-Human (FIH) Studies, Phase I / II Clinical Trials.

Adaptive Clinical Trials, and Patient Acceptability and Taste Evaluation. You can find about each one of those in detail by clicking on Find Out More.

The last one is Patient-centric Design and Production, which changes to Personalised Dosage and Design, Patient-Friendly Formulations, Multi-Drug Combinations, and On-Demand Medicine Production.

A hint to news is what the next section is about, followed by the Collaborating partners of the company, getting in touch with the company for consultation and newsletter.

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The Verdict

The concept of this company is based on the integration of a currently trending manufacturing technique i.e.

3D printing technology in an already existing product i.e. drug.

Although the idea is exciting and there are a lot of challenges because the additive manufacturing technology follows a set of rules which need to be integrated to achieve a higher outcome than what current manufacturing technologies are able to achieve.

How the company achieves this is, what it has to be applauded for.

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