PCE, Arburg and the UEA Acknowledged for Collaborative Partnership

Last year PCE installed an ARBURG freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing to help support the research and development of a revolutionary medical device project undergone by the University of East Anglia (UEA). As a result of this collaborative partnership, PCE, alongside ARBURG and the University of East Anglia, are finalists in Plastics Industry Awards 2021 for the Prime Machinery Supplier Partnership category.

The UEA‘s pioneering biotech project, led by Dr Sheng Qui aims to revolutionise drug treatments and looks to innovate the delivery procedure of medication to individuals. Currently, there is poor medication adherence, especially in the elderly population, where there is a 50% adherence:

“This one size fits all approach comes with poor adherence in the population. In elderly patients, there is a 50% adherence, meaning not all take medication following the doctor or pharmacists advice, this equates to wastage of 300million per year to the NHS.” – Dr Sheng Qui

To combat this, the UEA has embarked on an investigation that seeks to produce 3D printed polypills to tackle rising costs and low adherence rates in medicine uptake, enabling individuals on a range of medication to take a single pill, constituent of their personalised prescription. This revolutionary single pill will deliver the medicine required to the various areas of the body at the right time.

PCE’s involvement within this project included utilising our industrial knowledge to assist the UEA and help develop new approaches to overcoming existing bottlenecks and removing technical barriers of using 3D printing for pharmaceutical manufacturing. The partnership between PCE and the UEA facilitated and under guidance by EIRA utilised an ARBURG Freeformer; selected due to Fuse Deposition Modelling not being a viable development path for this project, with the Freeformer beings more versatile.

The collaboration has accentuated the groundbreaking possibilities within additive manufacturing and has enabled PCE to develop one new pharmaceutical-grade polymer which is not FDM printable with more in the pipeline. “Our Proof of Principle activities have demonstrated the freeformer’s capability of high precision printing directly from granulated pharmaceutical materials, eliminating the need for thermal pre-processing of the materials and improving the stability of the active pharmaceutical ingredients; opening limitless possibilities within the pharmaceutical and life sciences spheres,” suggests PCE’s additive manufacturing lead Mark Rothon.

PCE would like to thank ARBURG and the UEA for their excellence and cooperation in this innovative partnership and would like to provide further thanks to EIRA for their guidance and facilitation of our collaboration with the UEA.

To find out more about this project, check out the links below: