Chinese 3D Printed Medicine Company Triastek Lands $20.4M in Pre-C Round

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Triastek, the leader in additive manufacturing (AM) for pharmaceuticals based in Nanjing, China, has completed a Pre-C financing round worth $20.4 million dollars. Led by Guoxin International Investment, a Chinese sovereign wealth fund, the round also saw participation from Goldmine Multi-family Office, as well as one of Triastek’s existing investors, the president of Shanghai Tofflon Science and Technology Co. Ltd., Xiaodong Zheng. Financial services company China Renaissance served as Triastek’s advisor on the round.

Founded in 2015 by its CEO, Dr. Senping Cheng, Triastek is the inventor of the Melt Extrusion Deposition (MED) process, unique amongst pharmaceutical AM platforms in its facilitation of on-demand continuous production. Earlier this year, Triastek won a TCT Award for Best 3D Printed Technology in Healthcare, the first pharmaceutical company to win the award.

According to Triastek, the company not only has the highest number of patents in the 3D printed pharmaceutical space — holding over 20 percent of such patent applications globally — its three Investigational New Drug (IND) clearances from the FDA and one IND clearance from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) mean Triastek also has the most 3D printed pharmaceutical products. Moreover, Triastek is the only Chinese pharmaceutical company in the Emerging Technology Program (ETP) that the FDA founded in 2014. Triastek claims to already have the capacity to print 75 million tablets per year.

In a press release about Triastek’s $20.4 million Pre-C financing round, Ms. Jiang Jiajia, China Renaissance’s managing director of its Medical and Life Sciences Division, said, “We firmly believe that Triastek’s innovative technology has vast application potential. We will continue to walk with the company on its path of development and we look forward to Triastek’s innovative technologies helping more and more innovative drug products to be successfully developed and achieve clinical benefits as soon as possible.”

Triastek’s CEO Dr. Cheng said, “As Triastek enters a new phase of development, we will continue to explore the MED process and platform, comprehensively promote the commercialization of our technologies and products, work hand in hand with global partners, and drive the industry towards digital product development and intelligent manufacturing.”

As the CEO notes, Triastek intends to use the pre-C funds to accelerate the commercialization of the MED platform. Excitingly, the company also noted that it is in the process of developing three other technologies for pharmaceutical manufacturing, including Semi-Solid Extrusion, Micro-Injection Molding, and Micro-Droplet Jetting.

As I noted in a recent post about the NIST’s award of a contract to InfraTrac, a company specializing in quality assurance (QA) solutions for 3D printed pharmaceuticals, the relevant parties in both the public and private sectors seem to be serious about exploring 3D printing drugs at the point of need (the pharmacy or the hospital). There are many things to like about that idea, though its implementation would also obviously upend existing pharmaceutical supply chains, the pharmacist profession, and the business model for drugstores, at least in the US.

Thus, it is not something that would happen quickly, nor without a massive increase in investment into 3D printed pharmaceuticals. $20 million to one company on its own won’t lead to that disruption, but it is yet another sign that stakeholders are taking the idea of AM for pharmaceuticals seriously. As is the case when AM progress accelerates in any of the most stringently regulated areas of global industry, this is legitimizing not just for the narrow market segment itself, but for the entire AM sector.

Images courtesy of Triastek

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