Companies Target China for New Dissolving-Film Technology
AXM Pharma Inc. (Las Vegas) will soon be marketing a new oral drug delivery technology in China, thanks to a newly signed distribution agreement.
The company recently announced that it has acquired exclusive distribution rights for the Soluleaves oral drug delivery technology, developed by BioProgress (Tampa, FL). This new technology uses BioProgress’s proprietary dissolve-in-the-mouth films. Under the terms of the agreement, AXM will distribute the films to prescription and OTC drug manufacturers in China and Taiwan. The agreement is for an initial period of two years, which could then be extended by mutual agreement.
BioTec Films LLC, a branch of BioProgress, will manufacture a variety of children’s dissolvable vitamins under the agreement. AXM Pharma will distribute these products under the Sunkist brand and AXM Pharma’s house brands.
Graham Hind, chief executive of BioProgress, said, “This agreement with AXM Pharma represents our first foray into the highly lucrative Chinese marketplace in an extremely cost-effective manner.” He also spoke of AXM Pharma’s experience marketing and distributing pharmaceutical products throughout China, adding, “We are well positioned to benefit from their existing channels to market.” Hind also mentioned new legislative initiatives and the fast pace of development in the Chinese retail pharmacy sector as potential benefits.
Peter Cunningham, president and CEO of AXM Pharma, said in a statement, “This makes taking medication easier, especially for children and the elderly, who traditionally have difficulty swallowing more-conventional dosage forms.” He also said that AXM will attempt to mask the taste of prescription and OTC drugs using this technology.
AXM owns AXM Pharma Shenyang Inc., which operates in the People’s Republic of China. Its processing company located in the city of Shenyang has been manufacturing and distributing generic drugs there for 10 years. These drugs include injectables, capsules, tablets, liquids, and medicated skin products. AXM Shenyang is also currently awaiting the relicensing of its pharmaceutical products pursuant to a new national licensing requirement for pharmaceutical products in China and certification of its new factory.
BioProgress’s BioTec films division has already successfully developed vitamin and nutritional products using the Soluleaves delivery mechanism. It also has several patents granted and is in application for additional pharmaceutical drugs in soluble film applications.
A recent IMS (Shanghai) China market analysis shows that the country’s OTC pharmaceutical market is currently valued at approximately US$2.5 billion. It is forecast to grow to approximately US$4 billion in 2005. That figure represents an annual growth rate of about 30 %.