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36Kr/KrASIA

Chinese maker of 3D-printed drugs secures $15m in funding

Startup Triastek has already filed patent applications in Japan and the US

Triastek develops 3D-printed medicines and their production facilities. (Photo courtesy of Triastek)

BEIJING -- Triastek, a Chinese startup using 3D technology to develop medicines, has raised about 100 million yuan ($15 million) in a Series A+ funding round.

The lead investor is Dalton Venture, while the co-investors are Shanghai Tofflon Science and Technology Chairman Zheng Xiaodong and Yunqi Partners.

The funds are to be used for research and development of 3D-printed drugs, registration applications in China and the U.S., and the construction of a large-scale production line.

Triastek was established in July 2015. Its founder and CEO, Dr. Cheng Senping, has experience with starting businesses in China and the U.S., while co-founder Dr. Li Xiaoling is an expert on pharmaceutics in the U.S. and an educator.

Triastek engages in the development of 3D-printed medicines and production facilities for them. It aims to establish a new drug platform using 3D printing technology to design and mass-produce medicines.

In addition to developing drugs on its own, Triastek plans to partner with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to jointly develop new drug candidate materials and medicines. Triastek will also take charge of mass production.

Triastek's trademarked core MED (melt extrusion deposition) technology involves mixing and depositing materials using 3D printing technology, which enables mass production. This technology is generally suitable for the preparation of solids.

By applying 3D approaches to drugs, it is possible to accurately control the placement, timing and speed of the deposition of drug components.

Furthermore, it is also possible to enhance the effectiveness of drugs and reduce their side effects by flexibly combining the release of drug components.

The trademarked 3DFbD formulation design method developed by Triastek also boosts the efficiency and success rate of drug development.

Triastek's 3D printing technology was chosen as an emerging technology project by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April. Triastek is the first Chinese pharmaceutical company to have its technology chosen as such a project by the FDA.

In July, Triastek also participated in the compilation of standards for future drug production using 3D printers at the invitation of the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention.

As for its intellectual property rights, Triastek has already filed a total of 108 patent applications -- in 18 patent families -- in major drug markets in the world, including China, the U.S., Europe and Japan.

The patent applications are related to the company's spatial structure formulation design, formulation equipment and drug development method using a 3D printer.

Triastek covers three types of products: blockbuster drugs, orphan drugs and drug delivery systems (DDS). Products using DDS technology are difficult to imitate, making it possible for the company to dominate the market for a relatively long period of time.

The company's first product is a drug for rheumatoid arthritis. The company plans to submit an investigational new drug (IND) application to the FDA soon and apply to China's National Medical Products Administration for a clinical trial next year.

The company said it also plans to apply to the FDA for a pre-IND meeting regarding its second and third products.

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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