At the University of Michigan researchers have developed a technique for printing drug compounds directly onto skin patches, ingestable strips, and just about any other drug delivery device. Multiple drugs can be combined together to be able to produce patient-specific regimens, which would be produced inside a pharmacy, clinic, or hospital.
Using a method called organic vapor-jet printing, a drug in the form of a powder is heated into a gas and combined with an inert gas. The combination of the two gasses is directed in a fine stream onto a cold surface. As the drug condenses on this surface, it forms a crystalline layer that remains stable. This drug layer can be tuned to have different characteristics, depending on the use case. What’s important is that throughout this process no solvents are used that can inhibit the functionality of the drug. Moreover, distributing a drug over a fairly large area, instead of being compacted inside a difficult to dissolve tablet or pill, can help it to enter the body more easily.