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3D printing of drug delivery implants

School of Pharmacy

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Dr P Boyd , Prof K Malcolm Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing (3DP) encompasses a wide range of
processes that create structures through deposition or binding of materials in successive
layers to produce a 3D object. Our research group are experts in conventional
thermoplastic processing using hot melt extrusion and injection molding to produce drug
delivery devices and for the last 5 years we have applied this knowledge to the
application of additive manufacturing in pharmaceutical applications.
We work with standard 3D printing techniques like Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM),
using drug loaded filament to fabricate devices but we are also uniquely placed in our
use of Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF), a thermoplastic, high pressure, droplet
deposition printer. It is similar technology to an injection moulding machine and works
with pelletized granulate material rather than filament giving us the capability to work
with very flexible or highly brittle polymers that are unsuitable for FDM. APF utilises a
piezo controlled shut-off nozzle to discreetly control the exiting of material from a nozzle
as a continuous strand of droplets to create individual layers, giving precise levels of
control over a device’s design and morphology. Properties including geometry, density
and surface area can be manipulated in ways that would be impossible using
conventional thermoplastic processing techniques, allowing us to utilize smaller loadings of API, reduce waste and allow for rapid fabrication of varying compositions to allow for
screening activities or preparation of individualized dose strengths.
In this project, we will design new subdermal implants for controlled release drug
delivery and manufacture them using the Freeformer, with potential clinical applications
in contraception, HIV prevention and antipsychotic therapy.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.
Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely
related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may
also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those
applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date
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