Hydroxypropyl Cellulose (HPC) is used in many roles in the drugmaking industry: it is a high efficiency tablet binder which can provide the necessary hardness at lower addition rates than other binders, for example, as well being used in solid dispersions – through spray drying or hot melt extrusion - to increase drug solubility, and can be added to film coatings to increase adhesion.
“Nisso produces about 40% of the HPC in the world,” Wade Tanev a spokesman from the drug intermediate and excipient makers told in-Pharmaetchnologist.com.
He added the Japan-based firm - which has been producing HPC for pharmaceutical applications for almost 50 years – had seen demand increase over the last few years both organically and due to regulatory approvals.
“Demand has been steadily increasing for HPC as the global solid oral pharma market expands. We are in a few products that were recently approved by FDA and other global bodies, so that is driving our demand in particular.”
This was a driving force in the recent expansion of Nisso’s HPC facility in Nihongi, Japan, which saw the addition of a completely independent production line, pushing the total number of production lines to four.
The expansion was first announced in 2012 but was completed in March. The site will support manufacture of Nisso’s latest HPC product, SSL-SFP, which the firm says has a lower molecular weight and is of a finer excipient grade to other HPCs on the market.
“Customers have been receptive to this expansion as the HPC market has been tight till now. Our expanded capacity allows us to reduce lead times and develop new grades, like the Nisso SSL-SFP grade mentioned.” Tanev said. “We have some other grades in development that will be announced later this year.”
In August 2014, rival Ashland announced plans to expand its own HPC plant in Hopewell, Virginia, also citing increased demand. The plant will open its doors in 2016.