'No longer simply a capsule provider' - Capsugel wins oral peptide contract

Capsugel: 'More than a capsule maker,' as it wins manufacturing contract

Capsugel is no longer a simple capsule provider but a differentiated player in the CDMO industry, the firm says as it wins a scale-up manufacturing contract for Chiasma and Roche’s oral octreotide candidate.

The deal announced yesterday will see Capsugel scale up its production of the Chiasma/Roche co-developed octapeptide drug for the treatment of acromegaly - currently in Phase III trials – from its site in Livingston, Scotland, acquired when the firm bought Encap Drug Delivery last year.

Octreotide, a growth hormone inhibitor, is currently only available in an injectable formulation, and Encap had worked with Chiasma on an oral form for a number of years before the merger with Capsugel, according to Stephen Brown, Managing Director of Capsugel Dosage Form Solutions’ (DFS) Encap Drug Delivery.

“One of Capsugel DFS/Encap’s strengths lies in our ability to develop and scale-up complex manufacturing processes to provide a consistent and reliable quality product,” he told this publication, adding this was an example of the integrated product development evolution of the DFS unit, created in February 2013.

“Clearly we have evolved well beyond simply being a capsule provider,” he told us, as the unit offers design, formulation, and commercial manufacturing services, “but I also wouldn’t refer to us simply as a CRO or CDMO in the classic sense.”

CDMO Differentiators

We asked, therefore, how Capsugel differed from some more traditional contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs), such as Patheon and Catalent – the two largest CDMOs both of which also offer proprietary encapsulating technology.

He acknowledged each service provider will have its place in the industry along with its respective strengths, adding for Capsugel: “The key differentiators are our science and engineering based approach to product development, vast intellectual property estate and internal product development.”

Moreover, the firm’s enabling range of technologies allows multiple approaches to address such challenges as bioavailability, modified release and targeting within the gastrointestinal tract, Brown said.

For the Chiasma contract, for example, Capsugel is using its liquid-fill hard capsule and functional coatings technology.

Organic Growth and Bolt-On Acquisitions

Whilst historically Capsugel has focused on its liquid fill hard capsules and soft gel technologies, both of which formed the base of the DFS Unit, the company has grown rapidly via the acquisitions of both Encap and Bend Research, completed in October last year.

President of the DFS Unit Amit Patel spoke to us about the firm’s strategy to continually expand its technology and capabilities.

Whilst “significant investments are underway in commercial capability and capacity, including expansion at multiple sites related to liquid-fill, lipid multi-particulates, and spray dried dispersions,” he told us additional acquisitions are a real possibility.

“Capsugel will continue to explore additional opportunities for inorganic growth, including potential alliances and acquisitions,” Patel said, and though he would not speculate about specific companies he told us Capsugel would “continue to take a disciplined approach to assure strategic fit.”

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