InVentiv signs on to market 3-D printed drugs

Aprecia has an MIT-licensed method of 3-D printing pills and a plan to hit the market with easy-to-take formulations of top-selling medicines. To get there, the biotech has tapped CRO inVentiv Health, which is on hand to lend its commercialization expertise.

Aprecia's platform, called ZipDose, uses 3-D printing technology to create fast-melting capsules that the company says are easier to administer and swallow than what's currently on the market. The plan is to target therapeutic areas with unmet needs in oral drug delivery, Aprecia said, and the company expects to file its first new drug application with the FDA in the second half of this year.

That's where inVentiv comes in. Once Aprecia gets the FDA green light, its partner will provide sales teams, market-access services, advertising and public relations, picking up a royalty on sales all the while. Aprecia's revenue-generation plan is two-pronged: The company plans to sell ZipDose therapies on its own on the one hand and out-license the technology to other drug developers at the same time, and inVentiv is on board to facilitate both.

The CRO has played a role in either the development or commercialization of 60% of all drugs approved by the FDA over the last 5 years, according to inVentiv, experience that'll prove useful in introducing ZipDose to the market, Aprecia CEO Don Wetherhold said.

"Getting medicine into the human body reliably and accurately is both a challenge and an enormous opportunity," Wetherhold said in a statement. "To realize the potential of our technology and move quickly into market, we sought a partner that could execute every phase and function in commercialization--and inVentiv was the obvious choice."

Since getting bought by a private equity group for $1.1 billion in 2011, the Massachusetts-headquartered inVentiv has grown to employ 12,000 people in 70 countries, going beyond clinical research and offering services like legal consulting, policy work and market access.

- read the statement

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