The global market for excipients is projected to grow at a stable rate for the next several years. New blends and grades of existing excipients are providing innovative ways to enhance multifunctionality and performance.
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Market growth and segments
The global market for excipients was $3.5 billion in 2006, according to BCC Research (1). The market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% through 2011 and reach $4.3 billion (see Table I). The global excipients market is broken down into three major segments: organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals, and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) water.
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, and oleochemicals 28.3%, or $880 million. Proteins represent a small percentage, only 2.2%, or $68 million, according to BCC Research (1).
Patricia Van Arnum
Carbohydrates are the leading organic excipients because of their filling and taste-masking properties, according to BCC. Cellulosics hold the top spot in the carbohydrates segment on a value basis. Sugars comprise the bulk of the market volume for carbohydrates. Micronized cellulose phthalate and hydroxylpropyl cellulose compositions that have been converted to gels for transmucosal delivery systems are driving growth for cellulosics. BCC projects increased demand for compendial sugars for biopharmaceuticals and growth for artificial sweeteners, particularly in thin-film strips (1).
Table I: The global excipient chemicals market (1).
Glycols and povidones are the leading petrochemical-based excipients. "The trend in glycols is toward more refined grades that can increase stability of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) by as much as threefold," reports BCC. "Also, the emergence of very small tablets with rapid bioavailability is helping to boost usage of povidones." For oleochemicals, demand is oriented toward topical products and shows relatively flat growth (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. The firm points to several key developments for calcium salts:
- The expiration of Rhodia's (Paris) patent for anhydrous technology, which could open the market to other products
- The morphing of calcium phosphate from an excipient to a value-added product in a drug-delivery system
- The development of a slow-release full-protection vaccine embedded into injectable microspheres made from dissolvable calcium-phosphate crystals; the microspheres surround nanoparticles containing the API.
Halites and metal oxides each comprise 8.5%, or $31 million, of the global market for inorganic excipients. Demand for sodium chloride as an osmotic agent in injections and sustained-release tablets provides halites a CAGR greater than that of other inorganic excipients, according to BCC. The established use of titanium dioxide as a colorant is driving sales growth of metal oxides. Silicates account for 4.8%, or $17 million, of the global market for inorganic excipients. Small loading levels and the maturity of the glidant segment keep the market for silicates low. Other inorganic excipients account for 5%, or $18 million (1).