The handover of the technology comes in the wake of Pfizer's acquisition of Meridica in September 2003, which brought a range of inhaler and intranasal delivery technologies into the drug giant's portfolio.
Xcelodose, an automated and programmable tool for the precise metering of drugs into capsules and other solid dosage form containers, was always somewhat outside Meridica's core focus, and it is no surprise that it has been transferred to Capsugel, which offers a range of encapsulation machinery and formulation services.
Xcelodose is particularly targetted for preparation of early stage clinical trial supplies, and can handle drug compounds without bulking agent or excipients. The system can fill up to several hundred capsules per hour with programmable weights, from 100 micrograms to several hundreds of milligrams. The increased speed comes with other benefits, including reduced waste and improved accuracy (2 per cent standard deviation), according to Meridica.
Xcelodose is also small enough to operate in a normal laboratory environment or within a laminar flow or other containment enclosure, but has a production capacity that could be suitable even for small scale commercial manufacture.
In April, Meridica supplied its first Xcelodose system to North American contract research company MDS Pharma Services, which said it would use the system to help its customers start clinical trials of candidate drugs more quickly, as it does away with the need for excipient compatibility, stability and preformulation studies.
Meridica's David Edwards will continue as director responsible for the Xcelodose business and will be located at Capsugel's UK offices in Cambridge.