Clive Roberts - University of Nottingham

Clive Roberts - University of Nottingham



3D printing manufacture of medicines


The processes used to produce tablets, the dominant form of medicine taken by patients, have changed relatively little for over a century. Whilst these approaches serve the industry and patients very well they remain limited in some clinical areas and cannot create complex dosage forms or bespoke medications tailored for an individual or sub-population (ie personalised medicines). This would be valuable in meeting therapeutic challenges and the need for personalized medicines. 3D printing, offers a possible route to address these issues. As an example I will show amongst other examples, a 3DP 5-drug polypill and tablets with novel 3D architecture designed to control drug release. The potential and challenges for using 3DP in the manufacture of medicines and to provide new opportunities for clinical practice will be discussed as well as the considerable challenges that must be met to satisfy scale-up issues and regulatory requirements.

I aim to show that 3D printing has already shown the capacity to meet some regulatory requirements and whilst many challenges remain this is a technology that could potentially benefit patients and radically alter the way we make and distribute some medicines.


Clive Roberts is Professor of Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and Head of School at the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham. He graduated in physics from Imperial College in 1987, receiving a PhD in surface physics, also from Imperial in 1991. He has published around 300 papers (h-index 56) in the areas of nanotechnology, analysis and formulation and currently his research is focused on new methods to manufacture medicines and in particular the use of 3D printing. He was the founder of Eminate Ltd, which developed solutions for improved health in foods, including SodaLo, now a global product for ingredient manufacturer Tate & Lyle. He was also a co-founder of Molecular Profiles a recipient of two Queens Awards for Industry and now part of Juniper Pharma a successful company offering clinical trial and analytical services.