Augmenting Excipient Functionality

Jul 02, 2010


Patricia Van Arnum
Excipients play an important part in a pharmaceutical formulations and finished drug products. Like other sectors in the pharmaceutical–ingredient value chain, excipient manufacturers are addressing product demand and technical challenges in formulation development and manufacturing through product and service enhancements, capacity expansions, and select acquisitions. These changes are occurring as relative moderate growth is projected for the global excipients market.

Crunching the numbers

The global excipients market was valued at $3.5 billion in 2006, according to an analysis by BCC Research. The market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% through 2011, when it will reach $4.3 billion. The global excipients market is broken down into three major segments: organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, and United States Pharmacopeia (USP)-grade water (1).


(IMage: KATHLEEN BRENNAN, BRAND X PICTURES, GETTY IMAGES)
Carbohydrates represent the largest share of global organic excipients on a value basis, followed by petrochemicals, oleochemicals, and proteins. Carbohydrates account for 39%, or $1.2 billion, of the global organic excipient market, based on 2006 data. Petrochemicals account for 30.3%, or $941 million. Glycols and povidones are the leading petrochemical excipients. Oleochemicals account for 28.3%, or $880 million. Proteins represent a small percentage, only 2.2%, or $68 million, according to BCC. (1).

Inorganic chemicals used as pharmaceutical excipients include calcium salts, halites, metal oxides, and silicates. Calcium salts hold 73.2%, or $266 million, of the global inorganic excipients market, according to BCC. Halites and metal oxides each comprise 8.5%, or $31 million, of the global market for inorganic excipients. Silicates account for 4.8%, or $17 million, of the global market for inorganic excipients. Other inorganic excipients account for 5%, or $18 million, according to BCC (1).