The Hour of the Particle - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

The Hour of the Particle
Is now the time for multiparticulates to shine as a controlled-release solution?

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 34, Issue 7, pp. 38-42

A look to the future

Advances within the industry are making it easier for drugmakers to surmount the challenges of developing and producing multiparticulates, however. The emergence of technologies such as melt granulation has increased the number of manufacturing options and expanded the kinds of drugs that can be made as multiparticulates. "Expertise has become more widespread in the industry and is no longer confined to a few innovators," says Oakley. "Pelletized drug products have become a viable option," he adds.

Recent history could indicate that multiparticulates are poised to become more popular with pharmaceutical manufacturers. "We saw a steady increase in the number of projects using multiparticulates, especially in the past five years," says Rubino. Multiparticulates are attractive to pharmaceutical companies looking for new dosage forms for their existing drugs. They can enable line extensions that could yield drugmakers more revenue, she adds. Developing multiparticulate dosage forms also could provide commercial differentiation for a product and present a market barrier to competing companies.

In addition, firms are coming to appreciate the flexibility that the dosage form offers them. Multiparticulates enable companies to create various strengths of a given drug more easily than is possible with traditional tablets. Because they permit drugmakers to create a wide array of release profiles and to combine otherwise incompatible drugs within one dosage form, multiparticulates expand the formulation possibilities for many active pharmaceutical ingredients.

In addition, the clinical advantages of multiparticulate delivery have increased their popularity with manufacturers and patients alike. Particulate-filled capsules and tablets are highly accepted and often preferred by patients, who view them as a more advanced technology than conventional compressed tablets, says Oakley.

The commercial advantages, flexibility in formulation, clinical improvements, and patient acceptance that multiparticulates entail make it likely that the pharmaceutical industry will pursue this dosage form more actively for its new and established drugs in the coming years.


1.Medco Health Solutions, 2010 Drug Trend Report: Solving the Healthcare Cost/Quality Equation (Medco, Franklin Lakes, NJ, 2010), p. 30.


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