Ask the Expert – Q&A with Dr Maj-Britt Cepok about the latest excipient trends!

Q: When choosing a pharmaceutical excipient, what should I pay attention to and what’s currently driving the excipients market?

A: Dr Maj-Britt Cepok, Head of Business Development Pharma at BENEO, says:

The global pharmaceutical excipients market is expected to reach USD 10.6 billion by 2026.[1] Growth drivers include the rising number of elderly populations, advances in functional excipients and increasing generic drugs sales. We are also seeing growing interest in excipients that can enhance drug solubility and bioavailability, improve manufacturing efficiency — with continuous manufacturing, for example — and prolong the shelf-lives of medicines. Increased R&D spending and growing competition are further driving demand and putting drug formulators under pressure to develop innovative dosage forms. The right filler-binder can make all the difference here.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers should seek out multifunctional excipients that address several technical challenges at once while enhancing the formulation process at the same time. There is often a desire to fulfil specific needs for paediatrics and geriatrics, such as taste masking and making tablets easy to swallow. This goes hand in hand with the requirement for improved compliance and better usability. For example, controlled release applications can reduce the frequency of administration and extend the duration of effect. It is also a good idea to develop medications that don’t need to be taken with food or water, such as sachet powders. Modern on-the-go consumers seek products that meet the needs of their busy lifestyles and appreciate ease of use. As such, taste and mouthfeel are key. In this case, too, the right excipient – such as our galenIQ™ – can enhance the palatability of oral applications and reduce the bitterness of certain APIs. It is also toothfriendly and has a sugar-like taste profile.

The right excipient choice is also important from a technological point of view: when developing powder mixtures for oral applications such as stickpacks, bulk excipients have to meet production requirements such as excellent flowability, low hygroscopicity, high physical stability during mixing, content uniformity and chemical stability, to name just a few. There are a broad range of excipients on the market, but it can be difficult to find a platform that combines all of these properties. Multifunctional excipients such as galenIQ™ can help manufacturers to overcome multiple challenges. They play an important role in innovating delivery technologies and can accelerate the development of new products as they involve significantly lower development costs and fewer regulatory hurdles than creating completely new excipients.

For instance, when developing dry blends for use in sachets, it is crucial that the powder mixture flows precisely and cleanly into the pouch for accurate dosage and proper sealing. Also, compressibility is an important feature when it comes to ensuring that only very low compression forces need to be applied during the tabletting process. When oily plant extracts need to be compressed into a solid format, such as a tablet, it is helpful if the filler-binder acts like a sponge by absorbing the oily substances. galenIQ™ 721 can help to retain the homogeneity of the mixture and make the production of robust tablets with a high content uniformity much easier. Additionally, it is a water-soluble excipient that makes tablets disintegrate rapidly without the need for a superdisintegrant or additional binders.


headshot Dr Maj-Britt Cepok
Dr Maj-Britt Cepok

Dr Maj-Britt Cepok is Head of Business Development Pharma at BENEO. The company is part of the Südzucker Group and a member of the International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council (IPEC). BENEO produces galenIQ™, a multifunctional range of pharmaceutical excipients suited for use in solid and liquid dosage forms such as tablets, sachets, effervescents, lozenges and syrups.

[1] Markets and Markets Report, “Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Product, Functionality, Formulation”. Global Forecast to 2026. March 2021.

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