Roquette has created a pea-based softgel solution that can be used to make an alternative to gelatin capsules. The new launch will make it easier for companies to produce vegan-friendly medications and supplements.
Made from pea starch, carrageenan, sorbitol, and a gelling agent, Roquette’s ready-to-use pharmaceutical-grade solution is called LYCAGEL™ Premix. It is fully plant-based and meets EU and US standards for both pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.
The solution allows manufacturers to easily make capsules with comparable characteristics to the conventional gelatin-based variety. These characteristics include strength, seal integrity, quick drying time with no stickiness, fast disintegration, and no cross-linking. The capsules also have a higher processing temperature suitability than gelatin.
Around 70% of medications contain ingredients of animal origin. Surveys suggest that 59% of vegans frequently reject drugs due to animal-based ingredients, leading to concerns that they may be compromising their health.
To address this, French company Veggiepharm has launched medications that don’t contain animal-derived ingredients, while Genexa is creating “clean medicines” that are free of allergens such as lactose. Some companies are also developing animal-free alternatives to commonly-used pharmaceutical ingredients, such as The Every Company’s vegan pepsin.
“The launch of LYCAGEL marks a new era for softgel formulations and manufacturing. Manufacturers no longer need to compromise on performance when launching a vegetable softgel solution,” said Paul Smaltz, Head of Roquette’s Global Pharmaceutical business unit. “Designed to be easily adaptable to existing gelatin processes, LYCAGEL can support businesses in bringing vegetarian alternatives to market quickly, without significant changes to existing operations.”