Capsugel buys FlexTab to expand into high value markets

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pharmacology

Pfizer’s Capsugel unit has bought an injection molding technology that, it believes, will expand its capsule filling business into new “high value segments.”

The technology, known as FlexTab, was developed by UK pharmaceutical major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as a means of filling capsules with a wide range of powders, liquid and pellets via injection.

This approach allows for the production of novel capsule-shaped dosage forms that, according to Capsugel, extends its contract filling offering beyond the well-established dip-molding processes it currently uses.

Keith Hutchison, Capsugel’s VP of R&D, said: "We believe that the FlexTab technology's unique performance characteristics and novel presentation will enable us to formulate the next generation of pharmaceutical and biotech products for our customers.”

Hutchison suggested that the slowdown in the number of drug’s gaining regulatory approval is driving pharmaceutical developers to find ways of improving current products.

With fewer new drug entities coming to market, our customers are looking for other ways to improve the therapeutic effectiveness of existing API's for patients and consumers, for example through better patient compliance and convenience​."

The FlexTab acquisition, which was arranged by GSK’s SR One venture Fund for an undisclosed sum, fits with comments made at AAPS in New Orleans late last year​.

In an interview with Capsugel director of pharma technology David Edwards said that demand for “high-end” filling tech had increased during 2010 and predicted that the trend would continue.

Suitor interest

Additionally, Capsugel’s technology expansion will not have escaped the attention of groups rumoured to expressed an interested in acquiring it after Pfizer began looking at a possible divestiture in October​ last year.

Because, while the US drug giant has not made any further comment, any technology like the FlexTab platform that has the potential to expand Capsugel’s $740m revenue can only make the company more attractive.

At the time the New York Times​' Dealbook​ suggested that Bain Capital and Blackstone, which owns contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) Catalent Pharma Solutions were preparing bids, although neither investment group commented.

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