Programable Release of 3D-Printed Drugs

Magdassi Shlomo, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Institute of Chemistry
Benny Ofra, HUJI, School of Medicine - IMRIC, School of Pharmacy- Institute for Drug Research


  • Conventional manufacturing of pharmaceutical dosage forms (e.g. tablets, capsules) are typically restricted to certain designs and materials and are commonly being used in a generic form of tablets or capsules with or without enteric coating. 

Our Innovation

A novel approach for fabrication of a programmable oral dosage system in the form of responsive hydrogels,  that can be swollen and then release a drug at specific conditions such as pH, by 3D Digital Light Processing (DLP) printing technology.

Oral dosage forms of pH responsive hydrogels were 3D printed using monomer (acrylic acid), cross-linker (PEGDA) and Photo-initiator (TPO nanoparticles) that lead to biocompatible polymers.

The currently developed programmable pharmaceutical oral formulations enable tight control over the dose, composition and bioavailability, than achieved by conventional dosage forms.

Hydrogels are three-dimensional cross-linked network of hydrophilic polymers which can be used for drug delivery systems for controlled drug release. For example using responsive hydrogels, it is possible to control the volume of the dosage form after uptake and to minimize drug release in the stomach while enhancing its release in the intestinal pH. 


 Key Features:

  • Faster drug release at higher pH, thus enabling the enhancement of drug absorption in the intestine.
  • Enhanced swelling tablets
  • Flexibility in the design and the manufacturing of structures with large surface area and complex geometries which can be utilized in personalized medicine
  • Can be used for fabrication of programmable delivery systems, with a variety of materials and functional properties. The unique drug release characteristics are not possible to fabricate by conventional pharmaceutical manufacturing methods


The technology is based on photo-polymerization, enabled by DLP for curing photo-reactive compositions. The localized polymerization is performed within a bath filled with a polymerizable ink, usually by proper focusing UV light. DLP allows high resolution, complex structures, low printing cost and large build size.

The printed structures exhibited pH responsiveness and structure dependence of swelling and release.


Fig. 1:  Images of the 3D printed hydrogel tablets using DLP technique. (A. Box; B. Hemisphere; C. 5X5; D. Hive). E-F are scanning electron microscopy images of D and C shapes respectively. Photo: 3D Print. Med.  219–229, 2017)


Fig.2: Left: Images of Sulforhodamine B loaded 3D printed tablets with different shapes, before and after 24h swelling in phosphate buffer (pH 7.4); A. Box; B. Hemisphere; C. 5X5; D. Hive.

Right: Correlation between the tablet expansion and drug release in different 3D printed shape. Measurement were taken at 0,1,2,4,8 and 24 hours. Photo: 3D Print. Med.  219–229, 2017



Personalized and programmable medicine applications using oral delivery such as:

  • Retention time elongation for stomach drug delivery
  • Combination of several drugs to be released in different kinetics
  • Real time imaging of the intestine
  • Further enhancement of drug absorptions using nanoparticles integration
  • Blockage of intestine parts prior to surgeries or to substitute intestinal shortening surgery
  • Reducing appetite for diets.

Patent Status

Published WO 201S/225073 A1

Contact for more information:

Shani Bullock
VP, Business Development, Healthcare
Contact ME: