Demand for vegetarian capsules from the pharma industry is rising, according to dosage forms provider Capsugel which earlier this year invested $25m (€22m) across a number of its manufacturing sites.
“While gelatin is more commonly used, there are already several pharmaceutical products in the market that use vegetarian capsules, and our customers are using a growing number of these capsules in their pharmaceutical development projects,” Mark Vieceli, Director of Sales for the Americas at Capsugel told in-Pharmatechnologist.com.
Many pharmaceutical companies have adopted vegetarian or non-animal capsules due to their need for low moisture content capsules that provides better stability for hygroscopic compounds that may cause gelatin to become brittle,” he added.
Vieceli’s comments come as Capsugel rolls out a new offering for its nutrition customers, combining its vegetarian capsule platform with its liquid-fill technology. While this platform is not available for pharma customers, we were told the firm’s Vcaps Plus capsule is the preferred capsule in pharmaceutical formulation.
“It has been proven in vitro and in vivo studies to be nearly identical to gelatin performance, eliminates the potential for cross-linking and demonstrates true ionic and pH independence in disintegration.”
But despite the benefits, such capsules come at a cost and are “considered premium relative to gelatin,” he said.
“The main driving factors for this are that there is a higher cost base for vegetarian capsules due to their specialized raw materials and manufacturing processes, and vegetarian capsules have unique properties that deliver higher consumer value.”