UPDATE - Dispatches from CPhI

Capsugel's purchase of Bend will strengthen partnership, says Dow

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Dow speaks bioavailability and Bend at CPhI Frankfurt
Dow speaks bioavailability and Bend at CPhI Frankfurt
Dow says the acquisition of partner Bend Research is “good news” and will strengthen its developments in solving solubility and bioavailability issues in drug formulation.

Dow Pharma has worked with Bend Research for over four years, offering drugmakers solubility solutions with its range of tableting tech and tackling the problems of bioavailability with such technology as spray-dried dispersion (SDD) screening.

At CPhI last week, in-Pharmatechnologist.com spoke with Dow’s Global Marketing Director Christophe Massip and asked how last month’s acquisition of Bend by Capsugel​ has affected the partnership.

The news was “good news for us,”​ he told us. “Capsugel is already a partner of Dow. We know them, we work with them, we have various projects together so it’s going to strengthen our existing partnership. We cannot think of a better owner than Capsugel for Bend Research.”

Dow and Bend launched its first product line about a year ago - a HPMCAS (hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate) water soluble polymer for use with SSD formulations​ - under the brand name Affinisol, he said, and this year as “a natural extension of [its] technology with polymers,”​  the firm has launched its HPMC solubiliser for use with hot melt extrusion.

'Just Dow It'

Massip described Dow as “a drug enabling company”​ as the combination of the two products provides customers with “an expanded platform to develop drugs that otherwise would not be developed.”

This publication asked Massip why a drugmaker might choose Dow to aid oral development rather than a competitor to which he said: “Formulators have to make the best choice for their particular API,”​ and amongst the competition, “we like to think Dow is a step ahead.”

On top of the ongoing Bend partnership and expansion into HPMC technology, he said: “We also have multiple production sites probably smaller in size than our competition, therefore much more flexible and adaptable.”

Bioavailability Challenge

Massip also spoke to us about the challenges in the industry, and the ongoing issue of bioavailability inevitably raised its head.

“It’s not a new topic,”​ he said, and one that is not going to go away.  “We’ve seen over the last few years really a shift”​ with “the pipeline of our customers for new chemical entities evolving from 10-20% of the pipeline being class II or Class IV to now being about 70-80% of the pipeline.”​ [Class II displays low solubility but high biological permeability, Class IV low solubility and permeability]

“It makes the demands of our customers a lot tougher in terms of formulation, trying to find ways to deliver the drug in a very efficient way. It’s why we kicked off this partnership with Bend Research - to help us find the exact chemistry that is enabling the API.”

However, for peptides and large molecules and the challenges in converting them to an oral form, Massip said though Dow has had several customers approach the firm and a few projects undertaken, the firm’s pipeline is limited in this space.

“Most of the drugs are injectables, what we are doing is trying to work on formulation that would be oral instead of being injectables.

“That’s a tough challenge and our chance of success is somewhat limited but we have good hopes that we’ll find a solution in some particular space, maybe in some niche markets like in nasal drug delivery or transmucosal.”

New Facility

To support Dow's HPMCAS technology, the firm has also announced the completion of the Karlskoga, Sweden facility, owned by Cambrex the third company in Dow and Bend's solubility trifecta​. 

Production is set to commence early 2014 and the site will commercially manufacture solubility enabling excipients.

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