Past, Present and Future of Softgel Technologies - Pharmaceutical Technology

Latest Issue

Latest Issue
PharmTech Europe

Past, Present and Future of Softgel Technologies

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
Volume 26, Issue 8, pp. 32
PharmTech Europe 25th Anniversary
DSGpro/Getty Images;
Art direction: Dan Ward

Softgels on the Horizon

Softgel technologies offer an alternative drug-delivery vehicle for lead candidates that are difficult to formulate.

The origin of the current softgel manufacturing process, the rotary die principle, dates back to a 1932 patent. The manufacturing principle has not changed significantly over the decades but the technology certainly has evolved. Initially applied in low-end consumer sectors for cosmetics, nutritional products and even bath pearls and paint balls, the trends in using softgels for prescription and consumer healthcare markets have generated major shifts in demand.

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
25th Anniversary Issue

Related Content

Opportunities with Softgels

The era of high throughput screening has led to an expanded range of molecules with chemical structures leading to poor bioavailability and high toxicity, giving rise to significant formulation challenges. This problem has led to various commercial products formulated in softgels to overcome bioavailability challenges (e.g., amprenavir) and manage low dose and toxicity (e.g., dutasteride).

Softgels are now being recognised as one of the preferred dosage forms for the treatment of pain, eye conditions, cough and cold, as well as allergy. The easy-to-administer appeal and potential for quicker onset of action make softgels a popular dosage form (e.g., ibuprofen softgels). Despite its popularity, it is still regarded as niche technology in an industry dominated by tablet formulations, partly because in pharmaceutical sciences education, there is more focus on the traditional technologies such as tablets, cream, ointments and powder sachets. Also many companies have little internal experience with the softgel technologies and need to contract third parties for both development and manufacturing.

This situation opens up opportunities as large and mid-sized pharmaceutical companies rationalise R&D and rely more on outsourcing. The use of contractors, where much of the knowledge of softgel technologies resides, provides pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to capitalise on market trends, such as switching from prescription to over-the-counter products or developing patient-centred formulations. In addition, CDMOs are innovating softgel technologies, which include enteric-release (Entericare) and chewable (Chewels) softgel technologies. The future prospects of softgel technologies are looking bright.

Kaspar van den Dries
Kaspar van den Dries

About the Author
Kaspar van den Dries, PhD, is senior director formulation sciences, solid dosage forms and softgels at Patheon.


blog comments powered by Disqus
LCGC E-mail Newsletters

Subscribe: Click to learn more about the newsletter
| Weekly
| Monthly
| Weekly

FDASIA was signed into law two years ago. Where has the most progress been made in implementation?
Reducing drug shortages
Breakthrough designations
Protecting the supply chain
Expedited reviews of drug submissions
More stakeholder involvement
Reducing drug shortages
Breakthrough designations
Protecting the supply chain
Expedited reviews of drug submissions
More stakeholder involvement
View Results
Eric Langerr Outsourcing Outlook Eric LangerTargeting Different Off-Shore Destinations
Cynthia Challener, PhD Ingredients Insider Cynthia ChallenerAsymmetric Synthesis Continues to Advance
Jill Wechsler Regulatory Watch Jill Wechsler Data Integrity Key to GMP Compliance
Sean Milmo European Regulatory WatchSean MilmoExtending the Scope of Pharmacovigilance Comes at a Price
From Generics to Supergenerics
CMOs and the Track-and-Trace Race: Are You Engaged Yet?
Ebola Outbreak Raises Ethical Issues
Better Comms Means a Fitter Future for Pharma, Part 2: Realizing the Benefits of Unified Communications
Better Comms Means a Fitter Future for Pharma, Part 1: Challenges and Changes
Source: Pharmaceutical Technology Europe,
Click here