Lilly taps Triastek to use 3D printing for gut-targeted drug delivery

Eli Lilly has identified 3D printing as a way to get drugs to specific regions of the gastrointestinal tract, leading it to team up with Triastek to work on the targeted release of molecules in the intestine.

Triastek’s MED 3D printing technology enables it to apply layer upon layer of melted excipients, active pharmaceutical ingredients and blended materials. In doing so, the Chinese biotech could unlock new ways to control drug release. Triastek is applying the technology to its internal pipeline, the two most advanced candidates in which have IND clearance, and using it to support partnered programs.

Lilly sees promise in the technology. The collaboration with Triastek has two parts. Firstly, Lilly will work with its new partner to study the excipient properties and process parameters needed to maintain the stability of the drug throughout formulation development, 3D printing and payload release.  

Secondly, the partners will collaborate on the identification of a unique 3D structure dosage form design. The goal is to identify a structure that enables the programmed release of drugs in specific parts of the intestine to improve the bioavailability of oral dosage forms.  

“The collaboration between Triastek and Lilly is a great example of applying MED technology for improving the oral delivery of drugs. We envision that the MED technology of Triastek can be used to solve the challenges in formulations leading to the development of clinically valuable products for our global partners,” Triastek CEO Senping Cheng said in a statement.

Lilly is yet to say how it will use the technology if the project yields a viable delivery system. Other groups such as Biora Therapeutics are using different targeted delivery techniques to avoid systemic toxicity issues while getting therapeutic doses of inflammatory bowel disease treatments to cells in the gut.