Cellulose acetate (CA-320S) allows pharmaceutical actives to be released at a controlled rate and over a predictable period. Eastman believes that the product has particular application in enabling the delivery of drugs at cellular membranes and in the intracellular matrix. Across the pharmaceutical industry, patient compliance has become a key issue with drugmakers and packaging manufacturers alike focusing on making regimens easier to follow and more effective. This has generated a wide range of solutions, including transdermal patches to pump-based implants. For oral drugs, controlled-release coatings are one of the most effective means of improving compliance, both in terms of cost and ease of manufacture. Compounds like cellulose acetate can reduce patient tablet-burden by ensuring that the medication in question is released over an extended period. CA-320S is the newest member of Eastman's family of cellulose esters, which includes CA-398-10NF/EP, CAB 171-15 NF, and CA-320S NF/EP. It is manufactured under current good manufacturing conditions (cGMP) and is compliant with the requirements of both the US National Formulary (NF) and European Pharmacopeia (EP). Eastman said that the addition of CA-320S to its portfolio will help it provide producers with a greater degree of flexibility when they are designing drug delivery systems for targeted and controlled, sustained, or extended release pharmaceutical indications. A 2007 report by BCC Research estimated that the global excipient market would be worth more than $4.3bn (€2.8bn) by 2011, up from $3.5bn in 2006. Chemicals market to consolidate? Rising energy costs have forced a number of chemicals manufacturers to raise prices. In June, German chemicals giant BASF increased the price of several compounds used in the drug industry, including propionic acid and, earlier this week, Eastman followed suit and raised the cost of its EB solvent by $0.12 per 0.265kg. In the current difficult climate, Dow Chemical's plans to buy coatings firm Rohm & Haas and Ashland's proposed $3.3bn.acquisition of specialty chemicals firm Hercules has led commentators to predict that the industry is about to undergo a period of consolidation. As a result, organizations like Eastman are being mooted as potential takeover targets by many observers. Financial market website Dividend.com speculated that the relative strength of the company, coupled with its broad product portfolio, make it a strong buyout candidate. Eastman was unavailable for comment.