Joseph M. DeSimone
Stanford University, Departments of Radiology and Chemical Engineering
This talk will describe nanofabrication and 3D printing technologies that we have invented and employed to advance innovations in human health, emphasizing our current efforts to create digital approaches for precision drug and vaccine delivery, as well as device-assisted treatments. Building on our work in the 1990s to synthesize high-performance polymers in supercritical CO2 to reduce the environmental repercussions of industrial processes, we discovered a new class of perfluoropolyether materials (PFPEs) in 2004 and demonstrated their utility in multiple areas. We then joined our PFPEs with imprint lithography techniques from the computer industry to invent the Particle Replication In Non-wetting Templates (PRINT) nanoparticle fabrication technology. PRINT brought the precision and uniformity of semiconductor manufacturing to medicine, enabling the fabrication of industrial-scale quantities of uniform particles from almost any chemical composition and with independent control over particle parameters (size, shape, modulus, surface chemistry, etc.). The basis for Liquidia Technologies (NASDAQ: LQDA), PRINT opened new research paths and has led to multiple products currently in clinical trials to treat human health conditions. In 2015, we reported the invention of the Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) technology, which overcame major limitations in polymer 3D printing: slowness, a very limited range of materials, and an inability to create parts with the mechanical and thermal properties needed for widespread, durable utility. Through the company, Carbon, CLIP is now transforming how products are manufactured in numerous industries, including footwear, automotive, and medical devices. As a digital technology, CLIP also provides immense opportunities to improve medical treatments beyond devices themselves. At Stanford, we are currently pursuing novel, software-driven treatment planning approaches in pediatric medicine, including to treat babies who have cleft palates and plagiocephaly with digitally designed and 3D printed polymeric devices. We are also pursuing new 3D printing advances, including the design of a single-digit micron resolution printer, in order to advance microneedle designs as a potent delivery platform for vaccines.