Lonza Innovates New Product Concepts Thanks to Capsugel Acquisition: Natural Products Expo West Report

March 16, 2018
Jennifer Grebow
Jennifer Grebow

Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.

At last week’s Natural Products Expo West trade show, representatives from Lonza Consumer Health and Nutrition discussed how acquiring Capsugel’s delivery-systems portfolio empowers Lonza to provide comprehensive, clean-label solutions to the nutraceutical industry.

At last week’s Natural Products Expo West trade show, representatives from Lonza Consumer Health and Nutrition (Basel, Switzerland) discussed how acquiring Capsugel’s delivery-systems portfolio empowers Lonza to provide comprehensive, clean-label solutions to the nutraceutical industry.

Lonza finalized the acquisition of Capsugel last summer and is now leveraging Capsugel’s wide range of innovative capsule formats. These include-but are not limited to-capsule-in-capsule technology (such as the company’s DuoCaps); lipid multiparticulate (LMP) microspheres within a capsule; delayed-release designs; acid-resistant capsules (such as DRcaps); and a wide range of plant-based capsules (including Vcaps and Plantcaps).

These advanced technologies enable Lonza, whose focus prior to the acquisition was mainly on ingredients, to now provide complete, next-level product solutions, said Beth Tormey, vice president, head of business unit, consumer health and nutrition, Lonza.

“Lonza had a longstanding position in the nutrition industry as the world’s largest supplier of vitamin B3, but we had a relatively small portfolio, so we were looking to expand and focus on the nutrition market as part of our healthcare continuum, which is a major theme for Lonza,” Tormey told Nutritional Outlook at Expo West. “First, we started with the acquisition of InterHealth Nutraceuticals in September 2016, which brought a broader range of science-backed ingredients, very much aligned with Lonza’s long-term strategy. And then, with the acquisition of Capsugel, we essentially allowed ourselves to move further into the healthcare continuum by now being able to offer integrated-solutions offerings, so essentially our ability to supply everything from ingredients all the way through to fully formulated finished-dosage forms and, quite frankly, everything in between. It really catapulted our approach to the market and our ability to service customers throughout this space.”

At Natural Products Expo West, Lonza highlighted how its newly expanded portfolio enables product concepts that touch on some of the most relevant consumer categories today. For instance, at the show, the company showcased numerous product concepts targeting the sports nutrition and active nutrition markets. The firm displayed numerous combinations of ingredients such as BCAA, caffeine, coffee fruit extract, PQQ, and many more together with Carnipure, the L-carnitine branded ingredient Lonza acquired from InterHealth and that plays a role in sports and recovery. These ingredient combinations were encapsulated in Capsugel’s DuoCaps capsules. Other product concepts featured sports nutrition ingredients combined with InterHealth’s UC-II undenatured type II collagen to also address athletes’ joint health. The company said it can also provide innovative prototypes for immune support and digestive health thanks to ingredients like Lonza’s ResistAid larch arabinogalactan prebiotic fiber.

The Capsugel portfolio not only gives formulators the potential to combine typically incompatible or difficult-to-pair ingredients in one pill, it also enables Lonza to improve the bioavailability of the ingredients themselves, the company explained. “We’re able to really develop those formulas and optimize them for the right delivery,” said June Lin, senior director of global marketing, consumer health and nutrition, Lonza. “We have ways in which we can really enhance the performance of ingredients.”

And while some in the nutrition industry attest that more consumers are experiencing “pill fatigue” these days-essentially opting for alternative delivery formats to pills such as foods and beverages-Lonza reps said that Capsugel’s capsules may enable consumers to reduce the number of pills they take by not only improving bioavailability-and therefore potentially requiring a smaller ingredient dose-but also by enabling ingredients to be combined in one pill so that consumers can take them in one dose rather than having to swallow multiple pills.

“What these combinations do is allow you to combine certain ingredients together so that you have to take fewer pills. By deploying some of these technologies, you can also take a smaller number of pills because bioavailability is increased so you don’t need as much material,” said James Lugo, PhD, chief science officer, Lonza. “In the end, the real winner here is the consumer.” The company also formulates into other formats outside of capsules, such as food and beverage.

Lugo also pointed out that both Lonza and Capsugel have long been suppliers to the pharmaceutical industry, meaning that both companies come to the nutraceuticals space operating at high pharmaceutical-level standards. “What that translates into for the customer is that we bring a level of quality to this industry which is unparalleled,” said Lugo. “I come from the pharma industry, so I come from a mindset that if I’m going to recommend an ingredient to my company, I’m going to make darn sure that the ingredient delivers on the promise of the benefit that it’s supposed to deliver. At the end of the day, our customer base gets exactly what they hope for and what we promised to deliver.” He noted that Lonza’s ingredients are likewise backed by a broad range of clinical studies.

Moving forward, Lonza reps said the company’s goal is to meet consumer demands for qualities like clean-label products. Lin pointed out that there is a growing audience for the clean-label, vegan, and vegetarian options in the Capsugel portfolio. “If you look at the percentage of vegetarians in the marketplace, it’s still pretty low. It’s less than 20%; it’s probably 10%-20% of consumers who are vegetarian. But if you ask a consumer, the general population, if they would rather have a vegetable-based capsule or product, they tend to prefer that because they feel it’s healthier and that it’s better for them. This clean-label movement is really growing, and it’s really hitting the mass market because you’re seeing more and more brands and consumers looking for those options.”

She added, “If you look around at competitors, they don’t necessarily have the breadth and depth of the types of offerings that we do, and we continue to innovate around that as well. We’ve got a wide range of different offerings, with different benefits, across our vegetarian portfolio. Depending on the type of formulation you have, we’ll match that up to best fit with the product that you have.”


Note: Pills pictured are not Lonza/Capsugel pills