Functional excipients to drive US market to $2bn by 2015, study

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Demand for functional excipients will drive growth of the US market over the next few years according to new analysis.

According to a new report by the Freedonia Group the US market for pharmaceutical excipients will expand by nearly 4 per cent a year and reach a value of $1.9bn by 2015.

The authors suggest that drug industry demand for technologies that allow the reformulation of products in the face of generic competition is creating demand for ‘functional’ excipients.

Once only fillers and conduits for active ingredients, excipients are now used to provide more convenient dosage forms, to deliver drugs effectively, to control the timing of release, and to provide immediate disintegration in special circumstances​.”

This comment fits with the trend that has seen a number of manufacturers, Cargill​ and Celanase​ to name two recent examples, launch functional excipients over the last few years.

The idea is also in keeping with the recent​ regulatory suggestion that excipients could be used as tools in the battle against counterfeit medicines by employing them as hysical chemical identifiers (PCIDs​).

Fillers and binders to dominate

The Freedonia team also forecast that polymers will remain the top-selling type of excipient based on their use as fillers and binders in tablets.

Gelatin will remain the leading compound for encapsulation based on continued solid performance and safety, withstanding challenges from more expensive cellulosic and vegetable oil derivative alternatives, but will be used increasingly to encapsulate granules of active ingredients and to improve coatings.

They also forecast that, within the filler segment, cellulosic materials will remain the dominant materials for excipient fillers, but that they “will expand sales through specialty combination of excipients to improve and reduce the costs of tableting​."

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