Hypromellose also knows as Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), has successfully proved itself as an alternative material for hard shell gelatin capsules. HPMC is already in the market and its use is expected to increase in the coming years. HPMC capsules which are made of plant-derived or cellulose derivatives material are preferred as they do not contain animal origin components.
Hard gelatin capsules have been used in the pharmaceutical industry from quiet a long time. But the principal drawback being the presence of water content which makes them more favorable for hydrolysable drugs. In addition, to the cultural or vegetarian restrictions on using these gelatin capsules, studies have suggested the risk of transmitting spongiform encephalopathy via these capsules.
These problems were overcome by pharmaceutical scientists who were working to develop capsules made of cellulose derivatives, starch and polyvinyl alcohol copolymer. The first HPMC capsule was manufactured in 1998 by Shionogi Qualicap with properties suitable for dietary supplements and pharmaceutical products. The first HPMC capsule, Quali-V developed for pharmaceutical market, could be filled with many kinds of semisolid or liquid dosage forms.
HPMC Capsules Market: Dynamics
Some of the factors driving the HPMC capsule market is its developing phase in the pharmaceutical market allowing many players to develop their own gelling technology. Moreover, unlike gelatin capsules HPMC capsules are not interchangeable as each manufacture have their patented gelling system. This encourages more product commercialization as HPMC market players expect to reap more profits out of it. The HPMC capsules are available in various grade and are accepted by pharmacopoeias of the U.S., Japan and Europe.
The HPMC capsule market is quite mature in the nutraceutical market but in case of pharmaceutical industry it is still developing. Hence, established market players are including HPMC capsules in their developmental studies. The biggest advantage offered by the HPMC capsules is it mechanical integrity at low shell moisture content, which makes it a fit candidate to be used in dry powder inhalers. The increasing commercial availability coupled with HPMC capsule rapid progress in manufacturing and it’s inherit property to overcome problems with gelatin capsules; make HPMC capsules an ideal alternative to gelatin capsules.
HPMC Capsules Market: Region-wise Outlook
North America has experience various mergers and acquisitions as major players expand their product portfolio along with their market share. Qualicaps, a dominant player in the global capsule sector was acquired by Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC) for USD 654 million. The acquisition benefited MCHC with Qualicaps dominant position in non-gelatin capsules. Moreover, Qualicaps customer base was complementary to MCHC’s API business and healthcare solutions. Qualicap which is owned by Carlyle Group since 2005, was further expanded by the acquisition of Pharmaphil and Tecnopar Equipment and Service.
Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region with economic developing country such as China, India and Japan exploring more in the HPMC capsule market. Japan is already ahead with the use of HPMC capsules in majority of the nutraceutical products. Moreover, the Indian regulatory, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization is expected to soon come up with a decision over a proposal submitted. The proposal calls for a switch from widely-used animal-based capsules to cellulose based capsules. The Bureau of Indian Standards has already working on standards for the use of these vegetarian capsules and the strict requirement of bovine spongiform encephalopathy absence in case the company is using animal derived gelatin capsules.
HPMC Capsules Market: Market Players
The market players in the HPMC capsule market are acquiring other market players so as to access their capsule manufacturing technology and expand the plant capacity. One such company is Juniper Pharma Services who bought BD3000 capsule banding machine from Dott. Moreover, the company also added second capsule filling machine to quadruple capacity and increase fill weight range and weight accuracy.
Capsugel purchased Encap Drug Delivery which provided access to manufacturing infrastructure, development capabilities and technology platform. The acquisition also gave Capsugel a fully accredited MHRA and FDA facility. Capsugel will also acquire Encap’s DuoCap and Encoder, targeted release technologies. The company still plans to acquire other market players with developed capsule manufacturing technologies.
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Some of the HPMC Capsules providers are ACG-Associated Capsules, Capsugel Belgium NV, HealthCaps India Ltd, Sunil Healthcare Limited, Capsugel Belgium NV, Natural Capsules Ltd., Associated Capsules PVT. LTD., Catalent Pharma Solutions, INC., Shionogi Qualicaps CO LTD and Baotou Capstech Co., Ltd.
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