Evonik’s single-digit million euro investment in Japan is the latest expansion in the company’s global silica capacities, which has grown 30% since 2010 due to demand across the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
“Silica can provide a broad variety of different effects to pharmaceutical applications,” Evonik spokesperson Edda Schulze told in-Pharmatechnologist.com, for example “free flow for powders, tableting aid, thickener, suspending agent, carrier, dissolution improvement of poorly soluble APIs.”
This deal sees Evonik expanding its capacity with local firm Japanese Shionogi & Co - as part of the DSL joint venture which Evonik owns 51% of shares in – and operations will begin in 2015. The Germany-based company has also recently expanded a Chester, US silica plant and has begun construction of a silica plant in Brazil, set to start up in 2016.
Schulze could not disclose details as to Evonik’s pharma clients or specific demand from the industry.
Some companies are using silica as an excipient to help formulate insoluble active ingredients (Formac Pharmaceuticals and WR Grace, for example). Meanwhile technology firm TruTag is using silica in edible tags to help protect the supply chain from counterfeit drugs, while silica is also being used by biopharma processing equipment vendors in chromatography columns.