MIT-based startup nabs $30M for first 3-D printed drug approved by FDA

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This spring, Aprecia Pharmaceuticals launched the first 3-D printed pharmaceutical product to be approved by the FDA. It’s now secured $30 million in debt to aid that launch and bring forward more 3-D printed fast-melt formulations.

The venture debt financing comes from Hercules Capital; it’s received $20 million in initial funding already with an option to draw an additional $10 million tranche upon the achievement of an undisclosed performance milestone. In January, Deerfield Management also led a $35 million venture round to support the launch.

The drug, called Spritam, is an oral fast-melt form of levetiracetam to treat epilepsy that was approved in August 2015.

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"Based on extensive market research conducted by the Deerfield Institute, we believe there is a substantial population of epilepsy patients, particularly children, who are not well served by existing formulations and will benefit from Spritam and the other epilepsy drugs in Aprecia's pipeline," said Deerfield Partner Jonathan Leff in a statement at the time of the venture round.

He added that the purpose of the financing was "to advance the commercialization of important new therapies based on the company's unique 3-D printing technology."

Aprecia is based on 3-D printing technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Founded in 2003, the Langhorne, PA-based startup started developing its orodispersible platform, now known as its ZipDose Technology, which is intended to create high-dose, easy-to-swallow formulations that were previously unavailable. The company started working with 3-D printing on a commercial scale in 2008.

“It was important that we identified disease areas with a real need for patient-friendly forms of medication,” said Aprecia CEO Don Wetherhold in a statement on the FDA approval. “Spritam is designed to transform what it is like to take epilepsy medication, and is the first in a line of products we are developing to provide patients and their caregivers with additional treatment options.”

- here is the release

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