In early 2012, BASF and Catalent formed an open alliance aimed at providing solutions for bioavailability. To understand the
details of the collaboration and its goals, we spoke to representatives at each company. Participating in the round table
were: Martin Widmann, Senior Vice-President of Pharma Ingredients & Services at BASF and Ian Muir, PhD, President of Modified
Release Technologies at Catalent.
Q. Can you explain what each company is contributing to the alliance and how the collaboration functions?
Widmann: BASF and Catalent have complementary offerings and knowledge that address the same customer needs: the enhancement of solubility
and bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs. BASF has the broadest portfolio of solubilizers in the industry.
Muir: Together, we will build efficiencies for our customers along the value chain from formulation development and ingredient
selection through manufacturing process selection to the finished dosage form—bringing more products and better treatments
faster to the market. Catalent has 75 years of heritage enhancing bioavailability with our Softgel technology and has recently
expanded its OptiMelt™ hot-melt extrusion capabilities in the US and its Schorndorf, Germany, facility.
Below left to right: Ian Muir, Catalent, and Martin Widmann, BASF.
Q. The collaboration joins two companies with formulation development and manufacturing expertise. How does the collaboration
go beyond a traditional supply relationship? What is meant by an open alliance?
Widmann: "Open" means that both partners have joined forces on a nonexclusive basis, because we think that this is the most efficient
approach to the market and one that maximizes the reach of both companies. The idea is to provide support in excipient selection
for a particular customer need and to provide access to Catalent's formulation and manufacturing experts and leading drug
Muir: Catalent wants to keep full flexibility in the choice of excipients for its customers, and the open alliance arrangement
ensures that customers are not limited to the excipient portfolio of one supplier. The major advantage of the BASF portfolio
is the access to its different chemistries, which makes matching to optimize solubility all the more likely. The open alliance
will provide customers with formulation expertise across BASF and Catalent and in turn offer seamless bioavailability enhancement
solutions from molecule to market.
Q. The alliance was specifically formed to respond to client problems in resolving problems of bioavailability of BCS Class
II and IV poorly soluble compounds. What are the potential solutions that can be used to resolve these challenges from an
excipient and technology perspective?
Muir: Catalent is the leading industry partner in the development and formulation of drugs, biologics and consumer health products
and a world leader in drug delivery technology. Bioavailability enhancement can be addressed through multiple approaches,
including optimizing the API, formulation, processing technology, and/or drug delivery dosage form. Our technologies range
from OptiForm™ high throughput screening to Softgel technology and OptiMelt™ hot-melt extrusion to highly differentiated controlled
release tableting technologies such as OSDrC OptiDose™.