Portable device produces biologic drugs on demand: MIT

Last Updated: July 30, 2016

A portable production system was designed by researchers at MIT, the idea of this innovative system readiness for manufacturing a range of biopharmaceuticals on demand. For example, medics on the battlefield and doctors in the third countries often have no immediate access to the drugs needed, and patient’s life is under threat. With new MIT system, which was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the problem resolved.

According to the new MIT specialists, they invented absolutely new system, which is able to produce biopharmaceutical drugs for therapy on demand. This device may produce not only vaccines but treatments for diabetes and cancer — so, the monopoly of large, centralized fermentation plants are over.

New system’s invention and developing became a reality because of funding from DARPA, such a system is extremely useful for the medics on the battlefields. Mobile army hospitals will not waiting for the needed drug but produce it on their demand on the place, says the publication in the journal Nature Communications.

MIT researchers demonstrated how the system works: it produces a single dose of treatment from a compact device containing a small droplet of cells in a liquid. A mini bioreactor and set of the components are ready to supply the user with the needed treatment right here right now.

“Being a portable one, the system could ultimately be carried onto the battlefield and used to produce treatments at the point of care,”

explains Tim Lu, head of the Synthetic Biology Group at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.