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Alvaro Goyanes

University College London

3D printing for pharmaceutical applications

3D printing (3DP) is an increasingly growing manufacturing technology that provides the ability to fabricate structures of precise geometries from a 3D model by deposition of many thin layers. 3DP is nowadays used as a production tool or for rapid prototyping in many areas. In the pharmaceutical field, the advantages of 3D printing lie in the potential for the fabrication of unit dosage forms with tailored doses, shapes, sizes and/or drug combinations, potentially revolutionising the way that medicines are designed, used and manufactured. This technology is predicted to cause a change from the mass manufacture of limited dose range medicines toward tailored-to-patient medicines prepared at hospital or community pharmacies, to meet the therapeutic needs of each individual patient.

3DP comprises an array of different additive manufacturing technologies, some of which can be adapted for use in the pharmaceutical field, e.g. fused-deposition modelling (FDM), selective laser sintering (SLS) or stereolithography (SLA). The feasibility of using different 3D printing technologies to fabricate medicines and medical devices with pharmaceutical-grade polymers have already been demonstrated and the drug release profiles obtained can be modified by careful selection of the excipients and the digital design of the formulations.

To enable integration of 3DP into pharmacy practice, it is necessary to evaluate, develop and adapt these novel manufacture technologies to meet the high quality standards that are regulated by the pharmaceutical industry, leading to new challenges and opportunities.

This presentation will cover both academic research work developed at University College London (UCL) - School of Pharmacy and industrial development at FabRx, spin off company from UCL.


Alvaro Goyanes has more than 10 years’ experience in Pharmaceutics spanning Industry and Academia and he is passionate about technology and health. He is one of the first researchers assessing opportunities of 3D printing using fused deposition modeling (FDM) and selective laser sintering (SLS) for manufacturing oral dosage forms and medical devices. He is Co-Founder and Development Director at FabRx, a specialist biotech company spin off from University College London (UCL) -School of Pharmacy (UK), focused on developing 3D printing technology for the fabrication of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. FabRx won the last TCT show start-up award in 2017. Before moving to FabRx, he was awarded a fellowship from the Fundación Alfonso Martín Escudero for a Postdoctoral Research fellow in oral colon-specific delivery of vaccines at UCL. Alvaro holds a PhD in Pharmaceutics from University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) based on pelletisation by extrusion-spheronisation, and a degree in Pharmacy from the same university.


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