Personalized Supplements for the Unique YouBy Paige Madden
Multiply Labs is bringing to market the first-ever personalized pill. They have developed breakthrough 3D printing technology that enables the production of a single pill customized with time-released supplements to optimize nutrition. I sat down to speak with Fred Parietti, co-founder and CEO of Multiply Labs and a PhD graduate from MIT in Mechanical Engineering.
The majority of supplements on the market are a one-size-fits-all solution. Taking multiple supplement pills a day is commonplace and cumbersome. Multiply Labs believes in a world where people no longer have to take more than one pill a day. They believe that the future of medicine lies in personalization. With cutting-edge robotics technology, the team at Multiply Labs has developed the first-ever personalized pill with customized supplements and time-released nutrition.
While Multiply Labs is looking to fill the gap in personalized healthcare through supplement capsules, their long-term vision is to take this proof of concept and apply it to the epidemic of non-adherence to prescribed medications. Fred believes by employing the single capsule time-released technology to package together multiple medications, a dent can be made in the drug adherence problem that costs the American Healthcare system between $100-$289B a year.
Multiply Labs’ story
Multiply Labs was co-founded by Fred Parietti (MIT PhD ‘16), Alice Melocchi (visiting MIT PhD student) and Joe Wilson (MIT Sloan MBA). The company was born out of a simple question: what if you could 3D print medication? Alice posed this question to Fred, a PhD from the mechanical engineering department, when she was a visiting pharma PhD student at MIT. Fred had spent a portion of his PhD time focused on 3D printing. He knew that pharma had been slow to embrace 3D printing and realized this application could be revolutionary for the industry if executed correctly. Alice and Fred spent their next year at MIT focused on prototyping an initial 3D capsule printing system. Their research was turning into the roadmap for what would become Multiply Labs.
Rounding out the team, Fred and Alice recruited Joe Wilson, a first-year MIT Sloan MBA student. With experience advising technical founders from robotics, hardware, and biotech companies, Joe brought a unique perspective to the team. A few months later, Multiply Labs was accepted into startup accelerator Y Combinator for the summer of 2016. The team used that summer to hone their business plan and build the infrastructure needed for printing the 3D capsules.
After raising a seed round in fall 2016, the team made strategic hires from Fred’s lab at MIT to round on the talent on the engineering team. In 2017, the first robotic system for printing 3D capsules with multiple compartments was completed. Soon thereafter, Multiply Labs began selling direct-to-consumer personalized capsules with supplements via their website.
The personalized capsule
Designing your personalized capsule can be completed in less than five minutes. Data is gathered via an online questionnaire that addresses your health goals, diet, and lifestyle. These data points are put in Multiply Labs’ proprietary algorithm to develop a custom capsule of vitamins, minerals, and other supplements (ex. caffeine or omega-3) that are recommended based on your nutrition needs. Two weeks supply of daily supplements are then delivered to your door.
Each 3D printed capsule is individually made with varying wall thickness. This design allows for time release capabilities to optimize absorption in your body. For example, the release of omega-3 can be delayed until mealtime to reduce the chance of an upset stomach. The release of calcium and iron are also timed separately because calcium can inhibit iron absorption. If you have caffeine in your capsule, it can be released a few hours after breakfast for a midday boost.
Multiply Labs’ robotic system printing a 3D capsule
The product offering is flexible–as your health, energy, or schedule changes, your capsule can be updated. Multiply Labs prides itself on sourcing ingredients that have scientifically demonstrated continued effectiveness and on packaging the product in primarily recyclable material.
In terms of competitors in the space, Fred identifies none on the technical side. Multiply Labs is the sole producer on the market of 3D printed capsules with multiple compartments and time release technology. No pharmaceutical or supplement company has developed this technology yet. This technical advantage makes the product’s customer experience unique—most personalized supplements on the market are in multiple capsules that require you to take several pills over the course of the day. There are quite a few competitors on the personalized supplement side—Ritual and Care/of to name a few that have received VC funding.
While the personalized supplement market is becoming an ever more crowded space, Multiply Labs is differentiated in their manufacturing process and long-term vision. They also have a competitive advantage with their team having experience working together before. The engineers Fred recruited after Y Combinator are top talent all from the same lab in mechanical engineering at MIT.
The Multiply Labs team at their robotic manufacturing facility
Multiply Labs has gained a loyal customer following since launching their product in 2017. This summer, Multiply Labs is focused on scaling production of their customized supplements by building out their assembly line of robot printers. While the initial focus is on customized supplement capsules, Multiply Labs will begin to expand into the pharmaceutical market by starting with the OTC market. We expect this to happen once the thesis of personalized capsules is proven through supplements.
If you’re interested in learning more about the company, you can check out the company’s robotic manufacturing facility and the time-lapse of the dissolution of a 3D printed, 2-compartment capsule. You can also visit the company’s website at www.multiplylabs.com.