Encap Drug Delivery (EDD) wants to develop hot melt extrusion capabilities to differentiate its service offering.
EDD has partnered with researchers at Queen's University Belfast's school of pharmacy in an agreement that will see the specialist CDMO access HME know how and technology.
The firm - whose core business is formulations - said since its inception it has focused on gaining sound scientific understanding adding that "it is the company's intention to apply a similar strategy to the development of HME products.
EDD belives that in depth scientific knowhow will ensure that the products it develops are roboust ad scalable and "will enable clients to move quickly and efficiently through clinical development to registration and commercialisation."
R&D director Jane Fraser said: "We are confident that we can establish and grow HME as a mainstream technology for poorly soluble molecules. We believe that this will be a valuable addition to the formulator’s tool box and will fit well with our other enabling technologies’."
Fundamentally, HME manufacturing combines a drive and monitoring system with a rotating extrusion barrel and formation die through which the hot product is passed under high pressure.
While common in the production of plastics and foodstuffs since the 1930s, HME is still an emerging technique for the pharmaceutical industry due to the relative lack of drug quality excipients - although more are becoming avalable - and the additional challenge of define a batch.
Nevertheless in recent times the approaches' efficiency, removal of the need for solvents and, most importantly, ability to improve the dispersion of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) has attracted the attention of the drug industry.