Interview with: Alvaro Franco, VP Business Development for Softigel by Procaps


Ahead of CPhI Japan 2019, Alvaro Franco, VP Business Development for Softigel by Procaps, shares his thoughts on the event.

Tell us about Softigel by Procaps

Softigel® by Procaps is a leading provider of Contract Development and Manufacturing services in softgel advanced technologies for the global pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. Through our extensive capabilities and deep expertise in product development and softgel manufacturing, we help different companies bring innovative products to their markets faster, offering their patients and consumers an exceptional experience, high dosage form preference and superior adherence to different therapies.  Our advanced delivery technologies, including Softgel and related technologies, plus our proven formulation, manufacturing and regulatory expertise, has enabled us to become an integrated CDMO (or as we call it, an iCDMO), giving customers full-service, turnkey solutions in prescription drugs, and OTC drugs and dietary supplements across both development and delivery.

What do you have to offer/showcase at CPhI Japan?

During CPhI Japan, Softigel® will feature its novel technology for fixed dose combinations, UnigelTM, a first to market technology is designed to combine multiple API formulations into one single soft gelatin capsule, offering multi-phase therapies, bioavailability enhancement, lower manufacturing costs (vs. two separate doses) and superior adherence to different therapies. UnigelTM technology provides various forms for fixed-dose combinations, such as a softgel in a softgel, a tablet in a softgel, granules in a softgel, or any combination of these to address challenges of multiactive formulation, offering unique prescription, otc and nutraceutical products.
UnigelTM, an in-house development we consider industry changing, patented in Japan, the USA, and in many other markets worldwide, offering, offering a new way to combine single or multiple active ingredients with different release profiles, multiple active ingredients with chemical incompatibility concerns, and ingredients where at least one is a liquid or a semisolid. With UnigelTM we can develop products such as prenatal supplements combining Omega-3 (high in DHA) with folic acid and iron in one single product, or a cardiovascular product with Omega-3 plus Atorvastatin as a tablet inside a softgel. Vision care, beauty, gastrointestinal products and other formulation areas can all benefit from what Unigel offers.

With this proprietary, premium technology, consumers can reduce the number of doses of medication or supplements taken daily, improving treatment adherence and providing faster action and absorption, with an easier-to-swallow and more stomach-friendly dosage form.

This will be your first edition of CPhI Japan, what are your expectations of the show?

Yes. CPhI is premier event for Softigel by Procaps. It´s the place where all the industry comes together and it is the perfect place to meet with potential customers, present our offerings and discuss potential opportunities to support companies to bring to market their projects faster and overcome their challenges in different matters. We are excited to make new connections and get to know more about this market, make new business happen.

Make sure you come down and visit us at stand 2F-84 and get to know a little bit more on our technologies and services. We offer Innovative softgel dosage forms for every consumer/patient need.

Who are you looking to meet onsite?

Traditionally, our clients work with us for one of two reasons.  They either seek our softgel expertise and cGMP manufacturing facilities approved by some of the most demanding regulatory agencies in the world (including FDA, MHRA, TGA, and many others) to bring generic softgel products to market, or, they are brand marketers seeking alternate softgel contract manufacturing capacity with special interest in our novel and proprietary technology platforms which offer their brands distinct consumer advantages and life cycle renewal opportunities.

We´d love to meet with big pharma and generic companies of the region, also emerging companies and nutraceutical businesses interested in both generics and brand customization to expand their portfolios in innovative dosage forms.

What are, in your opinion, the most exciting developments in your sector at the moment?

In regards to market trends, diverse studies conducted have demonstrated an increasing consumer preference for softgels vs traditional ​dose forms in terms of ease of swallowing, real or perceived speed of delivery, as well as perceived patient adherence to treatments, plus a growth in this category and an expansion of softgels into new segments of the market in multiple industries.

As for technological developments, traditionally, softgels have been associated with some limitations like not amenable with modified-release. However, there have been recent advancements on this topic and now having softgels offering controlled-release of the drug substance, is possible. Also, using lipids to overcome bioavailability issues such as increasing absorption and avoiding food effect and first pass metabolism is a new development to highlight as well. Other recent developments that come to mind are softgels with non-gelatin shells enabling hot semi-solid fill, and the first pharmaceutical use of non-animal, plant-based shell material.