The two firms signed an agreement last September to work on an improved version of the film coating Lycoat by making it available to manufacturers in a ready-to-use formula. The development will form a new range of products under the name ReadiLycoat. The two companies hope coatings under this range can be tailored to meet specific needs, such as taste or sensitivity to light, which can both be issues. ReadiLycoat is also designed to have to be easy and quick to apply, saving time when it comes to preparing tablets. Compared to cellulose derived coatings, starch has a neutral taste and colour, Roquette said. Dr Xavier Parissaux, Lycoat product manager at Roquette Pharma, told NutraIngredients.com: "We definitely aim to design ReadiLycoat products to customer needs thanks to the flexibility of formulating ready mix coating products with Lycoat." Since signing the agreement, Roquette said there have been several "confidential developments" with bringing the technology to the market place, and expects to see film coated tablets out this year. Film coating, used to contain and protect an active substance, is increasingly used by the industry because of aesthetic and functional benefits, such as controlling the release of a substance, it can offer to consumers and manufacturers. The new film coating platform being developed by Roquette and Biogrund builds on Roquette's starch-based film coating polymer Lycoat. Lycoat was first unveiled in 2006 after several years of research and development by Roquette. The firm said Lycoat offers a high robustness under any processing condition, and can reduce coating time. Roquette said Lycoat defied an industry belief that starch could not be used in a film-coating polymer. Lycoat was developed to be able to improve the taste, colour and odour of the tablet it coats. Another quality of the Lycoat starch-based coating is its ease of solubility. Roquette hopes Biogrund - a German company which produces powder blends for coatings - will be able to produce a formula ready for use tailored to manufacturers' needs. ReadiLycoat is designed to be easier to use by manufacturers and can be used for food and nutraceutical applications because it is safe and complies with food and pharmaceutical applications, Roquette said. Parissaux added: "This partnership will significantly reduce the time to market and enable the patient, consumer and manufacturers to quickly benefit." ReadiLycoat can be used for any kind of solid dosage form, including hard and soft gel capsules, granules, beads and tablets.