The biopharmaceutical company recently announced that its preclinical in vivo studies using dogs confirms previous findings in a rat study to show that its proprietary eligen technology enhances the absorption of the vitamin. "These additional animal studies are an important milestone in our plans to commercialize our eligen technology," said Michael Novinski, president and CEO of Emisphere. "Developing a B12 formulation with greater bioavailability will alleviate a significant unmet medical need." B12 bioavailability B12 is a "very poorly absorbed molecule", Bob Madison, senior director of corporate communications told NutraIngredients-USA.com. While its absorption levels for injected B12 is between 7 and 30 percent, B12 tablets only have a bioavailability of 1 percent, according to Madison. However, he said that so far the studies of the companies' encapsulation technology have shown bioavailability of between 7 and 30 percent - therefore the same as its achieved in injecting the vitamin. "Our elogen molecules bind with whatever vitamin we are using them with, and protect it through the digestive tract," he said. "The encapsulation technology flows with the body's natural fluids and is then released into the bloodstream via the intestinal lumen of the small intestine." The product is not yet commercially available as first it has to be tested on humans in the last stage before being approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Emisphere hopes the technology will be available by early 2009. B12 vitamin Madison said that B12 deficiency is a big problem in the US and elsewhere. Five million people in the US receiving 40m B12 injections annually to treat a variety of medical conditions. At least an additional five million people are consuming over 600m B12 tablets of varying strengths. Madison "However, it is very hard to get people to have injections - the oral route of administration is much more desirable, which is why we have been working on a tablet that delivers the same bioavailability as the injection." As well as being used in supplement, the company said it has had much interest in its encapsulation technology from functional foods companies.