FabRx Ltd. is the leader of 3D printing for personalised medicines and small batch medicines manufacture.
Founded in 2014 as a spinout of University College London, FabRx sells pharmaceutical 3D printers and formulation development services. Our aim is to automate and improve the personalisation of medicines, and to improve clinical trial efficiency.
Tell us about yourself?
Over the years I have developed an interest in developing materials for drug delivery. I completed my PhD in Biomaterials for Diabetic Chronic Wounds at The Royal Veterinary College and University College London (UCL), my MSc in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine from UCL, and my BSc in Anatomy and Human Biology from The University of Liverpool.
I decided that I wanted to work in the exciting, fast-paced start-up world after working for 3 different start-ups during my PhD (two internships in industry as a medical writer and R&D chemist and part time work in a human tissue distribution company) and after taking part in the Medtech Superconnector Programme, offering business training and additional funding for project continuation after my PhD.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
I would probably say don’t stress out when things don’t go to plan!
What problem does your business solve?
One-size-fits-all doses are 40-70% ineffective, costing healthcare providers >$540 billion annually.
The current method of personalisation, compounding, is subject to human error, time and resource intensive and is only able to produce simple dosage forms. 3D printing automates compounding, improving efficiency and safety, and increases the personalisation options available for patients.
3D printing can also be used in the pharma industry to reduce time and costs associated with clinical trials by printing small batches of medication rapidly.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Our main aim is to improve the current methods used to personalise medicine and make personalised dosage forms an option for more treatment pathways. 3D printing can be used to personalise drug dose to improve treatment efficacy and reduce side effects.
This is particularly important for highly toxic drugs, for example for cancer treatment, or for paediatric patients where dose needs change often and require higher precision.
It can also be used to combine multiple drugs into one pill, a polypill, to reduce the number of pills taken every day, a common issue for older populations.
3D printing can also be used to personalise flavour, colour, shape and formulation type, for example chewable gummies, something that is particularly attractive for paediatric patients to improve treatment adherence rates.
For clinical trials, 3D printing can be used for the rapid manufacture of small batches of medication with novel dosages, reducing time and costs compared to standard unnecessarily large batch sizes used in drug development.
What is your magic sauce?
FabRx’s M3DIMAKER pharmaceutical 3D printers have unique components that help us to stand out, for example, in build quality control mechanisms and an exchangeable nozzle system to incorporate multiple printing technologies into one device. 2 of our cofounders, Dr Alvaro Goyanes and Prof Abdul Basit, are world leaders in the field of 3D printing and drug formulation.
We are also involved in multiple clinical trials, 4 to start this year in France and Spain and one planned in the UK to start next year.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
We are currently raising our Series A round of investment to expand and propel the company forward. In the next 5 years we plan to grow the team, continue hardware developments, be involved in more clinical trials, and for our first treatment pathways to be authorised for use in healthcare as standard.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Pharmaceutical 3D printing is a fast growing, new area, creating perceived risk for investors. Therefore, our biggest challenge has been to persuade investors to provide funding in this novel field.
We are actively reducing risks involved, for example by collaborating with healthcare professionals, carrying out clinical trials and talking to regulatory authorities. As a consequence we have gradually been gaining more interest.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
We want to talk to researchers, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals interested in this new and exciting field.
We are open to new project ideas and would love new opportunities to work with more research groups and healthcare organisations in the UK.
We would also like to reach investors interested in this exciting new field. The best way to contact us is via email, [email protected]. For regular updates please sign up to our newsletter at www.fabrx.co.uk/newsletter/.