A significant advantage of the PRINT method is that it consistently yields uniform populations of particles. "There's essentially
no dispersion in size and shape. That's not been available before," says DeSimone.
The technology also lets formulators create particle sizes and shapes that traditional methods have not generated successfully
in the past. For example, DeSimone's team has made cylindrical particles that are 80 nm in diameter, and they can achieve
particle sizes as large as 5 µm. The team is also using PRINT to develop particles that can rotate automatically in a low-velocity
airstream, much like a maple seed does when it falls from a tree. "We're getting into characteristics that have never been
designed into a respiratory drug therapy," says DeSimone.
It's hard to achieve this kind of mixture through traditional particle approaches, such as spray drying from a solution, because
ingredients in various phases tend to separate, and the processes give operators little latitude for controlling the ratio
of matrix to drug. "With PRINT, we can precisely tailor the ratio of those two components because we're simply filling a cup,"
says DeSimone. The high level of control that PRINT offers could help manufacturers create multicomponent particles for targeted
On the other hand, risk-averse drug manufacturers could consider the PRINT technique's novelty a liability. Companies might
be inclined to use micronization because they are familiar with that process. Also, the throughput of the PRINT technique,
which has a two-dimensional format, is lower than that of volumetric processes such as spray drying.
Respirable drug particles processed through supercritical antisolvent precipitation.
Nevertheless, the PRINT technique shows great promise for manufacturing inhalable drug particles, according to DeSimone. The
method can enable continuous manufacturing; provide control of size, shape, and chemical composition; enhance drug stability;
and enable particles to be made from otherwise challenging formulations.