The planned addition of coating and blister packaging equipment is the largest single investment at the 360,000sq ft site in Eberbach, Germany, since Catalent acquired the remaining 49% of drug delivery firm RP Scherer from Gelita in February 2012.
The new equipment will coat softgels for controlled, enteric and targeted release, and push processing output to over 300 million capsules per year and, according to Richard Lackner, General Manager at the Eberbach plant, is a “timely” investment for the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).
“As more customers look for integrated services from a single, convenient site, Catalent’s investment in softgel coating and packaging is timely,” he told this publication.
“Its integrated, same-site softgel manufacturing and coating services enhance process efficiency and control, minimizing the time between encapsulation and coating, and therefore, maximizing product shelf life,” he continued, adding “Catalent will soon be able to provide end-to-end service to its customers from the Eberbach site, from development to shelf-ready.”
Financial details of the expansion were not revealed and Lackner did not foresee a large number of new jobs being created in Eberbach, but the investment is evidence of Catalent’s continued advancement of its drug delivery systems, he said, which, since the closing of the RP Scherer deal, has seen it offer oral delivery of macromolecules through its OptiGel platform, as well as offer new anti-abuse encapsulating technology.
Driven by Innovation
As for market demand, Jessica Cao, Strategic Marketing Director for Softgel Technologies at Catalent, told us it the firm is seeing increased growth “driven by innovation in formulation, especially lipid-based formulations, including delivery of highly potent compounds, to overcome the bioavailability challenges of delivering poorly soluble drugs, and for modified and controlled release.”
In September, Catalent reported its end of year financials and its growth in revenue was primarily led by its softgel business.
The firm has recently invested in China and Brazil in order to support its softgel network, and Cao said its supply network now consists of 11 softgel R&D and manufacturing sites with the capacity to produce over 60 billion capsules annually.