UK firm looks to scale up chewable prebiotic-based prototype

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary supplement

A new alliance with a local contract manufacturing firm will enable UK based Oxford Nutrascience to scale up its recent development work on a chewable dietary supplement delivery system, Chewitab, said the technology developer.

Oxford Nutrascience develops liquid suspensions, gels, chewables and confectionery formats for supplement, medicinal and functional food ingredient delivery with a focus, it claims, on applications that are easily consumed by children and the elderly.

Company chief executive Nigel Theobald told Nutraingredients.com that following formulation activities, as well as bioavailability and stability studies that indicate the ratios of prebiotic fibre used in Chewitab increase solubility, the firm is now undertaking production trials with local manufacturer, Surepharm Services Ltd, as part of the commercialisation process.

He said that in-house laboratory testing at Oxford Nutrascience on its proprietary Chewitab technology has shown that it is robust and that the tablet can be manufactured using standard tablet compression equipment and pressures.

We are teaming up with Surepharm to enable documented validation of this process, and will seek to demonstrate the efficacy of the Chewitab manufacturing process for supplement application initially and then look to provide the same for medicinal delivery systems”​ said Theobald.

He explained that the chewable tablets can be made in a range of sizes to allow for different doses of ingredients to be incorporated and that the trials with Surepharm will include the integration of ingredients such as calcium, cranberry as well as a multivitamin version.

The decision to work with brand partners or launch the tablets under the firm’s own label is still under consideration, continued Theobald, who added that he envisages full scale production of the chewable tables to start towards the end of this year.

He said that prototypes of the firm’s Chewitabs have scored well with leading healthcare companies, and unlike orally disintegrating tablets, are not sticky so they can be packed in bottles as well as blisters.

Moreover, claims Theobald, the chewable tablets have the potential to provide additional benefits due to the prebiotic fibres that they contain.

The company, which is based in a science and technology hub attached to Oxford University, currently produces an own brand confectionery chew, Ellactiva, which is a blend of calcium carbonate and milk minerals.

And Theobald said that Oxford Nutrascience is also intending to launch two new fortified confectionery products this summer containing omega-3 and cranberry extract ingredients, which, he claims, have previously been difficult to deliver in this way due to taste issues and degradation of the ingredient in the cooking process.

These chews, he added, will have a mainstream positioning in leading retail outlets.

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