The agreement, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, will see Pronova's product life-cycle management strengthened. "The new alginate capsule technology has the potential to deliver significant benefits for patients, as well as creating important patent life-extensions for Omacor/Lovaza and other products under development in our pipeline," Pronova chief executive Tomas Settevik said. The company will initially use FMC's technology with its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), an omega-3 derived prescription drug for the treatment of elevated levels of triglycerides marketed as Omacor in Europe and Lovaza in the US. FMC's capsule technology uses alginate, a marine plant-derived biopolymer, as the main component in the capsule shell. As alginate is gastro-resistant, the technology provides an enteric release profile that delays release of the drug until it passes into the intestine. The technology can also reduce the size of the capsule by about 25 per cent by making a thinner shell wall. Alginate has been used for years in the pharmaceutical industry, and is known for its ability to form gels and films, enhance viscosity, and stabilize aqueous systems. Alginate has been used as a wound healer, a treatment for oesophageal reflux, and a binding agent in formulations. FMC already have two alginate products - Protanal and Protacid. These are manufactured at FMC BioPolymer's Haugesund, Norway, Facility. Under the terms of the agreement, FMC will apply its technology to Pronova's products while Pronova will be responsible for clinical development and for securing regulatory approval. "We are delighted to partner with Pronova to combine our leading edge oral dose technology with such an important pharmaceutical product franchise," FMC Specialty Chemicals Group vice president and general manager Ted Butz said. Pronova anticipates clinical trials of the new capsule using the technology to begin in early 2009 with a market launch in 2010/2011.