Evonik, through its corporate venture capital unit, has invested an undisclosed amount in Laxxon Medical, a US-based company which has developed 3D pharmaceutical printing technology that enables controlled release of active ingredients over time.
Laxxon’s 3D screen printing technology allows for the manufacture of structured tablets, with different layers. The inner structure can be designed to have alternate layers of active and inactive ingredients, allowing several doses of an active drug to be released over time. Another possible design is to layer multiple drugs on top of each other, combining several tablets in one.
Bernhard Mohr, MD of Evonik Venture Capital said this technology is great for patients and the company expects fewer side effects due to more controlled drug delivery. Also, reducing the number of pills lowers the risk of forgetting doses during the day.
Another benefit of the technology is that it is significantly faster than established 3D printing processes, allowing for mass production. The technology also enables improved drug delivery, which could allow companies the opportunity to extend existing patent protections on their products.
Evonik and Laxxon have also signed an agreement for joint product development and cooperation. This will see Evonik manufacture tablets using Laxxon’s technology. In future, Evonik’s products will be used in Laxxon’s printing pastes.
Evonik makes excipients, inactive substances that serve as vehicles for drug delivery. For example, polymers can be used to coat tablets allowing the active ingredient to be released immediately after swallowing, or after a certain delay, or to provide sustained release over time. The company’s specialised polymers ensure targeted delivery of active ingredients in novel tablets.
Helmut Kerschbaumer, CEO and co-founder of Laxxon, said: “Evonik is the perfect partner to support the development of tablets with unique release properties.”
“We are happy to have one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies with which we can further develop our products and at the same time commercially manufacture them.”
Thomas Riermeier, GM and Senior VP of Evonik’s Health Care business line said: “Drug delivery is becoming more high-precision and increasingly targets specific patient groups.
“The collaboration with Laxxon will allow us to accelerate our activities in this important and emerging market.”
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