Pii eyes gelatin shell evolution to enhance oral drug delivery

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Pii is developing small intestine targeting drug delivery technologies as part of a focus on gelatin shell materials.

Coating a capsule in a material that prevents the shell breaking down in the stomach allows drug developers to target the small intestine. Pharmaceutics International, Inc (Pii) believes biopharm seeking this technology, known as enteric coating, currently have limited options.

At the moment there are very few enteric coated capsules​”, Prasad Gullapalli, vice president of drug delivery technologies at Pii, told in-PharmaTechnologist at AAPS 2011. A focus for Gullapalli is expanding the range of enteric coated capsules available to drug manufacturers.

Developing new gelatin shell formulations will add to the portfolio of technologies Pii offers. Since joining Pii earlier this year Gullapalli has worked on nanocrystals, hot-melt extrusion and capsules.

Applying these and other technologies to improving the bioavailability of marketed molecules is the second area of focus for Gullapalli. “We are focusing on taking existing molecules and improving bioavailability​”, Gullapalli said.

Making improvements

Improving marketed molecules that have suboptimal bioavailability allows brand owners to gain an edge over generic competition and improve the treatment. Pii wants to make biopharm firms aware of opportunities in their portfolios and is searching for suitable molecules.

Once Pii has found a molecule it thinks it can improve the bioavailability of it will approach the owner to propose a project. Making improvements, such as lowering dosage requirements, can generate extra revenues from drugs approaching patent loss and improve the treatment.

Pii is also applying the technology to improve the bioavailability of new molecules. Many molecules coming through biopharm pipelines are poorly soluble, Gullapalli said, and with companies slashing jobs they are increasingly looking for partners to handle this work.

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