Catch and controlled release

Controlled-release formulations are becoming increasingly popular

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As companies look for new ways to extend their current drug portfolios and as an aging population looks for easier ways to take their medications, controlled-release formulations are becoming increasingly popular.
According to a January report by Kalorama Information, the drug delivery technology sector accounted for more than $3 billion of the overall oral drug delivery market's $35 billion in 2006 with the controlled/sustained- and delayed-release segments being responsible for the lion's share. According to report author and Kalorama analyst Mary Anne Crandall, growth in this market continues to be fueled by the introduction of many line extensions in both the controlled-release and fast-dissolving product segments.
"Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly turning to drug delivery to extend the revenue-earning lifetime of their biggest products as they approach or succumb to patent loss," she said in a statement announcing the report. "At the same time, other concerns, such as finding convenient forms and market acceptance of new biopharmaceuticals, and tapping into the growing elderly population that requires products with a level of ease-of-use and cost benefit, will continue to stimulate the market for oral delivery."
For its part, U.K.-based Critical Pharmaceuticals is looking at both the oral delivery market as well as other drug delivery markets as it develops its supercritical fluid technology for drugs and delivery vehicles.
"These could be formulated into controlled-released products with a range of possible morphologies, including microparticles, fibers and implants," says Dr. Andrew Naylor, the company's process development project manager. "A range of other morphologies can be produced for potential applications including mucosal delivery—e.g., via the lung—drug-eluting wound dressings, drug-eluting stents and anti-abuse formulations."

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