Machine learning using multi-modal data predicts the production of selective laser sintered 3D printed drug products

Youssef Abdalla, Moe Elbadawi, Mengxuan Ji, Manal Alkahtani, Atheer Awad, Mine Orlu, Simon Gaisford, Abdul W. Basit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Three-dimensional (3D) printing is drastically redefining medicine production, offering digital precision and personalized design opportunities. One emerging 3D printing technology is selective laser sintering (SLS), which is garnering attention for its high precision, and compatibility with a wide range of pharmaceutical materials, including low-solubility compounds. However, the full potential of SLS for medicines is yet to be realized, requiring expertise and considerable time-consuming and resource-intensive trial-and-error research. Machine learning (ML), a subset of artificial intelligence, is an in silico tool that is accomplishing remarkable breakthroughs in several sectors for its ability to make highly accurate predictions. Therefore, the present study harnessed ML to predict the printability of SLS formulations. Using a dataset of 170 formulations from 78 materials, ML models were developed from inputs that included the formulation composition and characterization data retrieved from Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Multiple ML models were explored, including supervised and unsupervised approaches. The results revealed that ML can achieve high accuracies, by using the formulation composition leading to a maximum F1 score of 81.9%. Using the FT-IR, XRPD and DSC data as inputs resulted in an F1 score of 84.2%, 81.3%, and 80.1%, respectively. A subsequent ML pipeline was built to combine the predictions from FT-IR, XRPD and DSC into one consensus model, where the F1 score was found to further increase to 88.9%. Therefore, it was determined for the first time that ML predictions of 3D printability benefit from multi-modal data, combining numeric, spectral, thermogram and diffraction data. The study lays the groundwork for leveraging existing characterization data for developing high-performing computational models to accelerate formulation development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122628
Pages (from-to)122628
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Early online date20 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2023


  • Additive manufacturing of medicines
  • Computational modeling
  • Data fusion
  • Digital manufacturing and internet of things
  • Industry 4.0 and drug delivery
  • Powder bed fusion 3D printing of pharmaceuticals
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical/methods
  • Lasers
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional
  • Machine Learning


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