'Drug-in-capsule' demand for trial material drives Juniper micro-dose investment

The Xceledose system: "similar to ‘tapping a pepper pot'" - photo Istock/AlonsoAguilar

Juniper Pharmaceuticals has made a “significant capital investment” to expand its Xcelodose powder micro-dosing system to feed demand for Phase I study materials.

Supplied and marketed by Capsugel, the Xcelodose tech is an automated filling system which allows drugmakers to fill capsules with small amounts of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), supporting first-in-human trial material, as well as highly soluble and potent products.

This investment will help the UK-based CDMO cater to this growing demand for Phase I study materials, according to Claire Madden-Smith, senior VP at Juniper’s subsidiary Juniper Pharma Services.

“There has been an increase in demand for this service across the whole of the pharmaceutical industry,” she told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.

“There is a growing demand for taking drug candidates into clinic faster and a simple unformulated ‘drug-in-capsule’ approach is a means to achieving this aim.”

The Xcelodose system works on a principle “similar to ‘tapping a pepper pot,’ until the required weight of material is achieved, either in a capsule or in a bottle,” she continued, and while there are other precision powder dispensers available Capsugels’s tech is “by far the most popular equipment for pharmaceutical dispensing applications.”

Rival contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs) Catalent, Pharmatek and Almac have all invested in the Xcelodose system but according to Madden-Smith there is still a “shortage of CDMOs in the industry with the capability and expertise to offer Xcelodose in conjunction with associated development and analytical services.”

She told us: “The Xcelodose equipment is expensive and therefore regarded as a significant capital investment for most CDMOs.” 

This investment – financials of which were not revealed – is the latest news from Juniper since it changed its name from molecular Profiles earlier this year.

In April, the firm received a license from the MHRA to manufacture unlicensed medicinal products (also known as ‘specials’), and in June the company won a contract to make sono-sensitive particles for OxSonics.

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