The expansion will take place at the company's Newark, Delaware plant and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The move follows an increase in demand for the company's Avicel brand, Avicel-plus and Gelstar MCC, which are used both by the pharmaceutical and food industries. The company expects "solid growth" in the coming years for the products. "This expansion will assure that we can continue to supply our customers with high quality products and service as their demand grows," FMC BioPolymer division manager Michael Smith said. "Based on the infrastructure and flexibility of our Newark facility, this expansion will be very cost efficient, which is essential with the current environment of higher manufacturing input costs, particularly pulp and energy." FMC BioPloymer first introduced MCC to the market more than 35 years ago. In water, with shear, MCC forms a three-dimensional matrix comprised of millions of insoluble microcrystals that form an extremely stable, thixotropic gel. In November, the company introduced two new excipient products to the market - Avicel HFE-102 and Avicel PH-200 LM. Avicel PH-200 LM, based on MCC, has been formulated to reduce the amount of water added to the granulation process, which sees a move from wet granulation to moisture activated dry granulation (MADG). Avicel HFE-102 is a new, proprietary co-spray dried MCC/mannitol high functionality binding excipient for direct compression. The co-spray drying added extra benefits to the excipient as it changed its properties combining the high compactibility of MCC and the low lubricant sensitivity of mannitol. The outcome was a harder, less friable and faster disintegrating tablet. The company operates a second MCC manufacturing plant in Cork, Ireland. A company spokesperson was unavailable at time of publishing.