75 Years of SoftGel Capsules

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - March 2009

Catalent celebrates anniversary of its pioneering technology for oral solids

In 1934, Robert Pauli Scherer invented a machine—a rotary die press—that could produce soft gelatin capsules to contain medications. His company, Gelatin Products Corp., became R.P. Scherer Corp. in 1947, and in 1998, was acquired by the organization that ultimately became Catalent Pharma Solutions, Inc. (Somerset, NJ).

Softgel capsules solve a number of problems, and create several important opportunities, for medications, cosmetics and other specialized applications. They offer a technically elegant way to encapsulate liquids, pastes and powders, especially those with limited solubility. They allow “difficult” drugs (which might taste bad, be difficult to swallow, or require passage farther into the digestive tract before they can be effective) to be delivered acceptably to the patient. Most of all, they are preferred by patients in many instances, which can have beneficial effects on medication adherence and quality of care.

Today, Catalent’s Oral Technologies segment continues this innovation forward, with more than 600 currently active softgel patents and patent applications. Catalent most recently launched a next generation capsule shell, the Vegicaps Soft capsule, produced completely from plant-derived materials.

Catalent will recognize this anniversary by offering a series of publications, technical seminars and celebrations throughout the year. “We’re pleased to have reached this important milestone for the technology and the business,” says Thomas Stuart, group VP of the Oral Technologies unit. “And we believe that Catalent’s long heritage of experience, know-how and expertise in formulation and manufacturing, will continue to make Catalent the industry’s preferred softgel partner in the future.” PC

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