BioProgress expands film-making capacity

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UK-based BioProgress, the manufacturer of 'dissolve in the mouth'
films, has bought two soluble film casting lines allowing it to
boost its production capacity to meet growing demand for the novel
delivery format.

The company, which focuses on innovative delivery mechanisms for the pharmaceutical markets, also supplies dissolve-in-the-mouth' breath freshening strips and vitamin film products to companies including UK pharmacy chain Boots.

Boots is considered the first to market with its vitamin C strips but the technology is expected to be used increasingly in the nutritional products industry to carry ingredients including energy-boosting nutrients and herbals.

Such products are said to be in the pipeline with new product launches anticipated early next year in both the US and UK markets.

Graham Hind, chief executive of BioProgress​, said the acquisition would allow the firm to take full advantage of the current global shortage of soluble film casting production capacity.

"The shortage is due to extremely strong global demand for 'dissolve-in-the mouth' products and the lack of both expertise and capacity to meet the demand,"​ he said.

The US-based premix company Watson has recently established an entire separate division to concentrate on making film strips for its customers and to meet anticipated demand. In a recent interview​, Walter Zackowitz, managing director of international sales at the firm, said Watson was seeing a lack of competition in the technology and had the potential to develop as much capacity as it wanted.

BioProgress' new lines, acquired for US$225,000 each from Valence Technology BV following the closure of its facility in Newtonabbey, Northern Ireland, will add significantly to the UK firm's production capacity.

Each has around three times the film production capacity of the current film casting line at BioProgress' Florida subsidiary BioTec Films. The current line has capacity to generate annual revenues of around $10 million in sales of breath freshening and vitamin film products. The new lines, expected to start producing film by the first half of 2005, will increase the company's revenue to around $70 million.

The lines were also significantly lower in cost than a new purpose built line, which can cost in excess of £1 million.

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