Therapy for the individual: Towards patient integration into the manufacturing and provision of pharmaceuticals
Review article, 2020
Individualized therapy with pharmaceutical products aims to elicit predictable and optimized treatment responses from specific patients. Doing so requires production platforms and technology capable of tailoring products to individual patient needs. However, despite recent manufacturing innovations and key technologies on the rise, e.g. continuous manufacturing and additive manufacturing (3D printing), the prevailing production paradigm employed in the pharmaceutical industry is mass production. Although mass production is efficient and cost-effective, it is typically based on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ product concept and lacks the flexibility and agility required to fully meet the needs of the individual patient. Indeed, we present data that confirm a suspected major imbalance between the recent medical evolution underpinning personalized/precision medicine and the recent advances in the associated manufacturing technologies. In this context we target the needs of the individual as a main driver for pharmaceutical products which support individualized therapy. We particularly address that a wider integration of critical patient dimensions into the manufacture and provision of pharmaceutical products is pivotal for enabling a patient-centric and efficient mass customization-based production paradigm. Here, we present a critical review of the area and its inherent challenges which aims to clarify key design requirements for establishing mass customization opportunities. Through primary sources of scientific information for individualized therapies, patient needs are captured, analysed, and conceptualized. This summarized set of key drivers provides the basis for a proposed patient-centric framework of requirements for use in design of product and production platforms for mass customization. The extent to which emerging pharmaceutical manufacturing technologies satisfy key individual patient needs is explored through a high-level assessment against the proposed patient-centric framework, with special attention paid to oral dosage forms. Altogether this holistic review and position paper, with its constituent steps, reveals major gaps in the evolution of Product-Process-Production approaches and solutions required for producing affordable individualized/personalized pharmaceuticals that respond to the needs and demands of the individual patient. Lastly, in a brief commentary and outlook, we suggest key research directions for closing gaps and addressing manufacturing technology challenges. We also articulate the importance of tackling them in a holistic, integrated way, together with challenges in product individualization and personalization.
Patient-centric drug product