Dow and Colorcon in controlled release collaboration

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Polyethylene glycol Dow

Major chemical manufacturer Dow has struck a deal with long-term
partner Colorcon forming an alliance to offer a unified package for
the development and production of drug ingredients and products.

According to the deal, Colorcon will be responsible for the global marketing, sales, technical service and development and distribution of Dow pharmaceutical products for use in oral controlled release applications. The deal only applies to certain polymers and resins from Dow's range, specifically the company's Methocel hypromellose polymers, premium or NF grade Ethocel ethylcellulose polymers and all Polyox polyethylene oxide resins used in pharmaceutical applications. The emphasis of the agreement is on polymers used in controlled release applications as it has been marked as a high growth area for the companies' customers. According to a Colorcon spokesperson, the company aims to expand the applications of Methocel, Ethocel and Polyox, and provide improved predictive modelling tools for products covered by the partnership. The alliance is in effect now, though there is a transition period during which distributors will be able to order Dow excipients from the list that will ultimately be covered through the alliance in order to fulfil customer requirements. This will last until June for the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, and September for Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Colorcon has been a distributor for the products covered by the alliance for almost three decades, and it is hoped that by now bringing all the products under one roof excess activity at both firms can be reduced and speed-to-market for customer products can be significantly improved. "In the past, each of our companies focused on what we were doing best individually,"​ a spokesperson for Dow told "Now, we are bringing together Dow's expertise in polymer and material sciences and technology development with Colorcon's leading pharmaceutical formulation service for oral dosage forms…We are combining resources to deliver more consistent and efficient service to our pharmaceutical customers." ​ The multi-year agreement will facilitate all stages of a project from choosing and sourcing excipients, initial technology development, and right through to final commercialisation and product delivery, all through a single project director. Colorcon will take over projects and customer accounts, as well as supply chain for most of the existing accounts. In the long term the companies both hope to be able to speed up innovation and new product development as a result of the alliance. Dow has noted that the formalised collaboration will free up 'intellectual capital' at the company, and a spokesperson for the company informed that although the company may "redefine some roles to better suit the collaboration,"​ it does not foresee any staff reductions. Dow also maintains that its other distribution partners will not be unduly affected by this latest news, and had informed all other distributors of the alliance prior to the public announcement. "The changes to the supply chain do not diminish the well-established relationships we have with our other distribution partners,"​ a spokesperson for the company said. "All other excipient products not applicable to this alliance will still be only available through the existing distributor network." ​ Colorcon, on the other hand, has upped its workforce, increasing personnel in its modified release division as a direct result of the alliance. Colorcon will now be the sole distributor of all Dow excipient polymers for all pharmaceutical applications in Europe, Asia and Latin America. In the US and Canada, Colorcon will become the sole distributor of Ethocel and Polyox for all pharmaceutical applications, and the sole supplier of Methocel products in controlled release applications (Methocel products for other applications will remain available through Dow's other distributors). In Japan, the company will assume distributor status for Methocel and Polyox products as of July 2007, and Ethocel will join the portfolio during 2008.

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