Development of 3D-printed subcutaneous implants using concentrated polymer/drug solutions

Camila J Picco, Emilia Utomo, Andrea McClean, Juan Domínguez-Robles, Qonita Kurnia Anjani, Fabiana Volpe-Zanutto, Peter E McKenna, Jonathan G Acheson, Dessislava Malinova, Ryan F Donnelly, Eneko Larrañeta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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Implantable drug-eluting devices that provide therapeutic cover over an extended period of time following a single administration have potential to improve the treatment of chronic conditions. These devices eliminate the requirement for regular and frequent drug administration, thus reducing the pill burden experienced by patients. Furthermore, the use of modern technologies, such as 3D printing, during implant development and manufacture renders this approach well-suited for the production of highly tuneable devices that can deliver treatment regimens which are personalised for the individual. The objective of this work was to formulate subcutaneous implants loaded with a model hydrophobic compound, olanzapine (OLZ) using robocasting - a 3D-printing technique. The formulated cylindrical implants were prepared from blends composed of OLZ mixed with either poly(caprolactone) (PCL) or a combination of PCL and poly(ethylene)glycol (PEG). Implants were characterised using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermal analysis, infrared spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction and the crystallinity of OLZ in the formulated devices was confirmed. In vitro release studies demonstrated that all the formulations were capable of maintaining sustained drug release over a period of 200 days, with the maximum percentage drug release observed to be c.a. 60 % in the same period.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122477
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of pharmaceutics
Early online date9 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 25 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Academy of Medical Sciences (SBF005\1011) and the Royal Society (RGS\R2\212016) for the financial support to this work and Gina L. Picco for her support in providing and designing the illustrations included in the graphical abstract of this manuscript. Finally, the authors thank Prof. P. Manesiotis for aiding the determination of residual solvent content.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


  • Implant
  • Olanzapine
  • Sustained delivery
  • 3D printing
  • Poly(ethylene)glycol
  • Poly(caprolactone)


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