Drug delivery player Evonik aims for the small intestine with new enteric coatings

Evonik's modified enteric coating helps protect acid-sensitive active pharmaceutical ingredients and allows the precise targeting of sites like the duodenum, where there's a narrow window of absorption. (Nastasic/GettyImages)

Specialty chemicals company Evonik already boasts a suite of drug delivery systems made to target the lower small intestine and colon. Now, it's launching new technology that can deploy drugs to the upper small intestine, too.

Evonik in early October launched Eudratec Fasteric, a new technology that works with many of the company's existing enteric coatings to precisely target drug delivery in that especially tricky region, the company said in a release.

Eudratec Fasteric pairs those existing coatings, sold under the brand name Eudragit, with an inner layer made up of a binder and a modifying agent. The new line of tandem coatings is designed to release oral drug doses in the upper small intestine within 30 minutes of their arrival, the company said.

RELATED: Evonik puts down $41M to expand North American CDMO capabilities for injectables

It's a difficult target. Though many active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) absorb best in the upper small intestine, the region is more acidic than areas farther along the digestive tract, Paul Spencer, head of pharma polymers and services at the company, said.

RELATED: Singapore scientists launch startup to hustle Parkinson’s drug-loaded ‘micro-capusle’ to market

The Eudratec Fasteric coating helps protect acid-sensitive APIs and allows precise targeting of sites such as the duodenum, where there is a narrow time window for absorption, said Jessica Muller-Albers, Ph.D., Evonik's director of strategic marketing for oral drug delivery solutions.

The new technology complements Evonik's other offerings—such as DuoCoat, Phloral, and Eudratec COL—that are designed to target drug delivery in the lower small intestine and colon.

The Eudratec Fasteric line launched under the German firm’s Nutrition and Care unit, which brought in about €4.6 billion ($5.4 billion) in 2019. It's the second-largest producer of drug-delivery-focused pharmaceutical polymers, Evonik’s annual report (PDF) says.