Wei Jian Goh’s startup Craft Health makes personalized medicine and nutrition possible. The startup is one I’m very envious of as I’ve had a lot of ideas in this area for years. Ideas are nothing however and the Singapore based Craft Health team is executing on a series of innovations that could make personalized nutrition and medicine more accessible and widespread. Craft Health is taking a very straightforward and logical idea to market: one pill does not fit all. If we’re both adults and we take a painkiller we may each take one, as prescribed. But I may be twice as heavy as you or my body could have a completely different in many different ways. Craft Health wants to enable the customization of pills and doses to the individual. What’s more the company wants to make their custom 3D printed pills commonplace. On top of that, the team have spotted a huge application which no one is working on in 3D printing: 3D printed nutrition and supplements. Craft Health is a very exciting startup to me that could really unlock many exciting outcomes for people in all sorts of scenarios. I love that it was started by pharmacists to enable them to better help patients. I’m very bullish on the Singaporean startup so we interviewed Wei Jian Goh who is a co-founder and the CEO of the startup.
What is Craft Health?
Craft Health is a personalized nutrition and medicines platform, leveraging onto 3D printing technologies. Our vision is to simplify the process of pill taking for consumers or patients.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
We aim to be at the forefront of the intersection for 3D printing technologies and formulations, supplying the Craft Health solutions to both nutraceuticals and pharmaceutical industries.
What do you do?
Using 3D printing, we are able to print different shapes, layers or geometries to provide accurate dosing of active ingredients such as nutraceuticals or active pharmaceutical ingredients. We also compartmentalize individual active ingredients to reduce the risk of cross contamination or interactions. .
At the same time, we are also formulation scientists and have formulated different bases for various controlled release profiles.
These include immediate release (active ingredients are released within 10 minutes of consumption), sustained release (active ingredients are slowly released between 4-6 hours after consumption), amongst others.
We are also developing our very own 3D printer, using the paste extrusion technique where no heat nor UV curing is used. We are looking at how we can automate the 3D printing process in a scalable manner.
In short, we are able to personalize the nutrition or medicines to the consumer/patient.
How does it work?
Craft Health uses a proprietary blend of generally regarded as safe (GRAS) materials that are already found in the pills that are commercially available. We take the non-active ingredients of these pills and change their ratio in order to achieve different formulations of controlled release. For example, we have formulations for immediate release (release of active ingredients within 10 minutes after consumptions) and sustained release (release of active ingredients slowly over a period of 4 -6 hours). The active ingredient is blended into our proprietary formulations.
The active ingredients and our proprietary formulation for the selected release profile are blended and formed into a paste. The semi-solid paste is then extruded into the shape of a pill using a 3D printer. We are able to print multiple active ingredients, each with their selected release profiles, within the same pill in this way.
What would determine the individual supplements?
The individual supplements would be determined by the individual, on the basis of what they want (self-selection) and what they need (depending on their response for nutritional questionnaires and even nutrigenomics)
Would it depend on me, or me at one point, my blood work?
This would depend largely on the extent of personalization you require, from filling up a simple questionnaire to nutrigenomics.
Who are your customers?
Craft Health is targeting nutraceuticals and pharmaceutical companies to
1. License our technologies and 3D printed formulation solutions
2. Supply our 3D printed pills through the Craft Health Platform
What benefits would they have?
Nutraceuticals: Increase the product range to consumers, especially discerning consumers who are increasingly concerned about what supplements they take. Supplements can be in various combinations personalized to the individual, and also release profiles.
Pharmaceuticals: Rapid prototyping for reformulation exercise to extend existing patent life spans of therapeutics, or a low volume, high mix approach to clinical trials where small volumes batches and dosing can be titrated quickly, depending on the trial results.
Why did you start this company?
Craft Health is founded by two Singaporean pharmacists, who went on to pursue our PhDs in 3D printing and formulation work.
When we were practising as pharmacists, we saw many instances where patients go home with bags of medicines, typically from common conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. This is further exacerbated by complicated dosing regimens such as before/after food requirements. We thought that there should be a better solution to this, something that can simplify the process of medicine taking and this, was the inspiration for Craft Health.
Who has funded you?
Craft Health has recently closed their seed fund raising round led by Mistletoe Singapore, and participated by National University of Singapore (NUS) Graduate Research Innovation Programme (GRIP) and one angel, NUS Adjunct Associate Professor Neo Kok Beng.
What does it feel like to be the first company in 3D printed nutrition?
We believe we are the first company in 3D printed nutrition in South East Asia. It is a humbling experience as we learn about the various nuances of consumer preferences in this region.
Do you think that 3D printed nutrition is for everyone? or just a select group of athletes?
We believe the early adopters will be those that require highly specialized nutrition. These include athletes where age, gender, sports type and even the stage of training matters. Eventually we see 3D printed nutrition for everyone, whether for maintaining good health or to optimize their performance.
When do you hope to launch a customer?
We are an early stage start up, having incorporated in May 2019. Currently we are in the research and development phase, where we are expanding our database of various formulations, developing our in-house 3D printer and also actively looking for collaborations and partnerships. Our target launch for our initial pilot for 3D printed supplements would be late 2020.
What magical sauce do you have that would stop me from copying you?
We believe we are one of the few companies that are developing the complete supply chain for 3D printed healthcare: From developing our very own 3D printers specializing in 3D printing nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals, to developing our proprietary database of various formulations for controlled release of different active ingredients, whether supplements or pharmaceuticals. Therefore, we are able to offer a one stop solution for 3D printed healthcare.
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