Dr. Wei Jiang GOH is currently the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Craft Health Pte Ltd, where he oversees business development and investor relations, helming the company through its fundraising rounds. Previously a National University of Singapore (NUS) Graduate School of Integrative Sciences & Engineering (NGS) PhD-MBA scholar where he earned his PhD and MBA with specialization in Finance, his research interests include formulation science and Bio-Nanotechnology. He has published more than 10 peer reviewed research articles and hold several patents. Prior to that, Wei Jiang graduated from NUS Pharmacy in 2012 and practiced as a registered pharmacist. Dr. Wei Jiang will be speaking at our upcoming event 3DHEALS 3D Printing for Drugs.
Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like?
Wei Jiang: My first experience with 3D printing was when I contemplated starting Craft Health with my co-founder, Dr. LIM Seng Han. Seng Han was doing his Ph.D. in 3D printing in personalized medicines at that point in time, and we thought whether 3D printing could be done for medicines.
3D printing is commonly associated with medical devices in healthcare but not so much with medicines. We were wondering if 3D printed medicines could be a reality and that spark of our interest in this field.
Jenny: What inspired you to start your journey?
Wei Jiang: Both myself and co-founder were pharmacists, where we saw many patients going home with bags of medicines. The issue of polypharmacy, or too many medicines, is very real. Some medication dosing regimens can be complicated by before or after dosing, or high dosing frequency in a day. As a result, patient adherence to the medication regimen can be impacted, and since medicine is only effective when it is correctly taken, a low medication adherence typically leads to poor health outcomes.
We believe 3D printing is the solution. We have built the Craft Health platform (3D Printing Platform for Pharmaceuticals, 3DP3) where we have developed a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) ready 3D printer specializing in the 3D printing of pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals without heat or UV curing, as well as a series of 3D printable formulations for controlled release such as immediate, delayed and sustained release profiles.
By combining multiple active ingredients into a single polypill, each with its own distinct required release profile, we aim to lower the overall number of pills the patient has to take, effectively reducing the pill burden.
Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey?
Wei Jiang: My co-founder, Dr LIM Seng Han. While not trained as an engineer, he has demonstrated an amazing ability to resolve most of our hardware issues as well as being extremely receptive to the possibilities of 3D printing in medicines. He also has an extremely positive outlook, even at times of adversity.
Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?
Wei Jiang: I hope what we do would ultimately translate into better health outcomes for everyone. At a certain stage in our lives, we all would have to take medicines in one form or another. 3D printing offers an avenue to make the process much simpler, and palatable.
Jenny: What is the biggest obstacle in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?
Wei Jiang: The biggest obstacle is probably the day-to-day challenges in running a startup, which can involve a multitude of different tasks every day. Though challenging, I also find this invigorating, as this steep learning curve allows myself as well as Craft Health to gain vast exposure and learn quickly.
Jenny: What do you think is the biggest challenge in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?
Wei Jiang: I think there are 2 main challenges.
First, would be the general sentiment around 3D printing in medicine. Most are familiar with 3D printing for industrial applications and even for medical devices, but there are many who are unaware of what 3D printing in medicine can offer. 3D printing in medicine is still a nascent field, and I believe we will eventually be moving into an exciting paradigm of 3D printed personalized medicine. As we progress together with those in the field, I believe the general awareness of what this intriguing technology platform can offer will only become more commonplace.
Second, there is no regulatory framework for 3D-printed medicines in general. That said, the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has set up an Emerging Technology Program to promote the adoption of innovative approaches to pharmaceutical product design and manufacturing. Herein, 3D printing manufacturing is listed as one of the areas that are included. I believe that is a step in the right direction, as we would definitely want to work with the relevant regulatory bodies to bring the product to market.
Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?
1. More deep-tech funding in Asia, especially for 3D printing start-ups.
2. Faster adoption of new frontier technologies.
3. COVID to go away.
Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?
Wei Jiang: Studies and grades, while important, are not everything. Go out, explore, and gain competency in two overlapping industries.