Advances in the pharmaceutical industry are expected to have an impact on pharmaceutical excipients within the next decade, a new report claims.
The report, Excipients in Pharmaceuticals, from BCC Research, estimates the global excipient market will be worth more than $4.3bn by 2011. It was valued at $3.5bn in 2006.
In recent times there has been a lack of innovation when it comes to excipients - because the chemical compounds used to make excipients have been sufficient for the current industry's needs. But there have been trends developing in the pharma industry which will affect the inert ingredients.
According to the report, the physical structures of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) have started to be examined and refined in a bid to increase functionality.
"In some cases, the refinements will mean that fewer excipients are needed; in others, corresponding changes will occur with the functional categories, where some will become more prominent and some will decline. Refinements in APIs, for example, have brought about a downward shift for binders, which were once widely used," the report said.
Likewise, advanced techniques can have a similar effect, such as the use of nanocoatings, which has seen a reduction in the amount of lubricants needed and the movement away from wet granulation and compacting.
"For the present, formulators will continue to use excipients to give their final drug products the necessary or desired functional use or properties, in terms of both medical/therapeutic performance and marketing benefit."
The report also said the development of new drug delivery platforms could "rearrange markets for the excipient chemical compounds that cater to the specific needs of the delivery system".
The increasing use of buccal tablets and thin film dissolving strips was propelling the use of excipients, the report said.
Currently, organic chemicals have the largest share of the excipient chemicals market, which was valued at $3.1bn last year and is expected to be worth $3.7bn by 2011.
The second largest segment goes to inorganic chemicals, which was worth $363m last year and will reach $434m by 2011.
US Pharmacopeia was a $68m segment in 2006 that will be worth $89m in 2011.
In 2006, 8.6bn pounds of excipient chemical compounds were used in pharmaceuticals. According to the report, that figure is expected to rise to 11bn pounds in 2011.
Further changes could occur in the market as excipient developments move to address solubility issues, improve bioavailability, and enhance release profiles required for the more complex pharmaceutical ingredients, the report said.
The report gathered its data through telephone interviews, trade journals, press releases, company reports and government documents.