Catalent creates web-based tool to ease drug delivery tech selection

With researchers estimating that as many as 70% of new chemical entities (NCEs) are poorly soluble in water, service providers have scrambled to offer drug delivery technologies that improve bioavailability. But which is right for your active ingredient? Catalent has created software to help answer this question.

The contract service provider has built a web-based tool, called FormProRx, to show clients which of its drug delivery technologies are best suited to their active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Users input details of their requirements and API characteristics--such as solubility and physiochemical properties--and FormProRx picks what it thinks is the most appropriate oral delivery approach. Catalent hopes the tool will increase awareness of its drug delivery technologies, helping it snag business from other vendors.

Capsugel, Patheon and a host of other contract development organizations are competing with Catalent to help biopharma companies overcome bioavailability and other drug delivery problems. "It is ever more challenging to deliver drugs effectively in a form that is convenient for patients and minimizes side effects. Formulators can drive better outcomes through familiarity with the many drug delivery technologies available," Dr. Kurt Nielsen, chief technology officer at Catalent, said.

With lots of service providers fighting for market share, Catalent has turned to software to stand out and ease clients' drug delivery technology selection headaches. Catalent lists Merck ($MRK), Novartis ($NVS) and Pfizer ($PFE) as clients of its oral technologies business--which includes its drug delivery methods--but the unit posted a small dip in revenue in the last quarter. The fall revealed the competitiveness of the sector, with Catalent saying it was partly due to concessions it granted a client to win a long-term softgel contract. 

- here's the press release
- view Catalent's results (PDF)