Vésale has for about two years been developing the technology called InteliCaps with German lab, BRACE, and now production has begun at its Belgian headquarters to meet demand from a range of international supplement makers.
BRACE’s ‘smallsphere’ micronencapsulation technology was modified by the two companies to meet probiotic requirements, developments Vésale Pharma says deliver better blending potential and better protection from heat, oxygen and water.
High-dose vitamin C-probiotic supplements are one template the company has been promoting.
International manager Johan Quintens said the technology could be applied to Vésale Pharma’s own strains or those of other probiotic suppliers. He said costs are comparable to ‘classic strains’.
The Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-certified facility is close to Vésale’s existing facility just outside of Brussels and has a capacity to produce 50 tonnes of ‘smallsphered’ strains per year, more of double-shifting is employed.
“We have five clients in France, Belgium and Germany and have produced 150-200kg so far,” Quintens said.
Intelicaps was developed using the lactobacillus rhamnosis strain.
“We think this technology opens a new world to formulators,” Quintens told NutraIngredients earlier this year. “Take vitamin C. It is basically poisonous to probiotics at higher concentrations but this technology makes it possible to achieve such blends.”
Intelicaps employs molecules of between 0.6 and 1 micro metres, dimensions approaching nano levels.
“The probiotics are in the beadlets so that offers production savings as well as they are easier to handle,” Quintens said.
In Belgium, the probiotics market grew 40% in 2009 and 20% in 2010 according to market researchers, despite the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ruling against probiotic health claim submissions to date.