The Capsules & Health Ingredients business primarily serves the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets.
In the pharmaceutical market, we saw modest growth in prescription drug usage as routine health regimens were impacted by COVID-19. This was slightly offset by the higher use of some over-the-counter medications. The new small molecule development pipeline remains healthy with a stronger focus on dosage forms that can support the delivery of new, more complex formulations and sensitive medications. We also saw interest in our dosage solutions from large molecule drugs, which often require better protection and improved bioavailability.
In the nutraceutical market, total demand grew from first-time consumers purchasing health supplement products. The strongest areas of interest were in immune, mood and active health products. Demand for clean label capsules remained strong, driven by consumer preference and emerging regulatory guidance for free-from products. We also saw continued interest in innovation collaborations and complete solutions, to support more complex formulations and end-to-end delivery of nutraceutical products to the market.
Our Capsules & Health Ingredients business offers an innovative portfolio of dosage and formulation solutions for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical customers. We provide a large breadth of animal based, vegetarian, and clean label options with different release profiles and encapsulation technologies. This broad portfolio is produced from one of the largest global manufacturing network dedicated to the production of dosage forms, providing our customers redundancy and local supply. Our focus is to help enable our customers to deliver their medications and health supplements to market safely, effectively and efficiently.
Billion Capsules Produced Annually in 2021
Ingredient Patent Families
Capsules and Dosage Form Patent Families
Our dosage solutions offer our customers a comprehensive range of high-quality capsules, dosage forms and delivery technologies. This combination allows our customers to customize their end medication or supplement and meet their unique product specifications and consumer preferences while complying with regulatory requirements. We also provide filling equipment and related technical services to optimize customers’ fill and finish processes.
Our portfolio is fully supported through our global manufacturing, logistics, R&D, technical and customer service network.
In addition to our comprehensive dosage solutions, we offer formulation solutions with branded, scientifically-backed, high-quality health ingredients to support active living through human and pet nutrition. Our portfolio includes premier brands such as UCII® for joint health, Carnipure® for energy and a range of branded products for weight loss, recovery and strength. We also provide launch-ready formulas which allow customers to use popular ingredients and go to market quickly, leveraging our technical and market knowledge.
Our wide range of products are manufactured in our established global site network across three continents. These sites also provide full technical, quality, regulatory and customer support. Our innovation centers provide state-of-the-art equipment, which enables us to collaborate and innovate with our customers.
The business saw solid demand across product lines supported by particular regional interest from the Americas and APAC. We have delivered against our ambitious expansion plans and our global capacity increased to around 250 billion capsules annually.
Comparison vs. Prior Year
CORE EBITDA (CHF)
CORE EBITDA Margin
Sales growth, expressed as a percentage (%), is at constant exchange rate (CER)
Our focus on innovation continued in 2021, with the development of new and innovative capsules and dosage capabilities. As an example, we invested further in the commercialization of our proprietary lipid multi-particulate technology, developing a commercial-scale manufacturing platform to meet high levels of demand. Lipid multi-particulate technology is a proprietary, innovative solution that helps maximize ingredient functionality and expands application versatility.
We have also been working with our customers to help navigate the complex regulatory framework changes in 2022. As the European Union Commission is looking to ban Titanium Dioxide (TIO2) from food colorants, we are helping to convert customers to our TIO2 free alternatives such as our White Opal® VCAPS® capsule. Alongside this, we offered additional testing for other harmful substances, such as Ethylene Oxide (ETO), to provide our customers with added assurance of our compliance with regulatory standards.
In addition, we have also introduced a number of operational and quality improvements. We completed the prototype of our next-generation proprietary capsule manufacturing machine, which will improve output while reducing deviations. It offers 15% higher throughput and 30% lower variability when in full production. Importantly, it can also be configured for a wider range of production outputs to meet evolving customer needs.
In 2022 and beyond, one of our top priorities is to drive greater levels of customer collaboration. In the Nutraceuticals market, our Dosage Form Solutions (DFS) helped introduce over 400 novel supplements, with the majority leveraging our unique dosage delivery technologies. Due to the popularity of these unique services, we expect to expand our DFS capacity and capabilities in 2022. Within the Pharmaceuticals market, we introduced our application lab (R&D innovation center) to selected customers and worked on a range of early-stage applications to solve different dosage delivery challenges. We expect to expand this innovation center in 2022 to take on more collaborations.
President, Capsules & Health Ingredients (CHI)
As we look back on another challenging year, I am proud of how CHI has established itself and flourished as a new division. Over the course of the year, we have undertaken multiple strategic initiatives to grow our portfolio, expand our services, develop breakthrough technologies, better engage with our customers and improve efficiency. All remain on track and are delivering strong results. In response to the increasing global demand for capsules, we have delivered against our ambitious expansion plans and I am pleased to say that as of the end of 2021, we have the capacity to produce approximately 250 billion capsules annually across the world.
To support the value we place in our customer relationships, we piloted our customer experience program in EMEA with strong levels of success. The goal is to provide a systematic approach to interacting with and providing value to our customers. The pilot program has already improved our engagement with our customers and will help ensure that customer centricity remains one of our core capabilities.
The pandemic continues to bring uncertainty to both our business and our customers, and evolving demand forecasts continue to put our supply chain under pressure. As a result, securing our suppliers and maintaining supply chain continuity has been a key focus in 2021. On a positive note, the pandemic has allowed us to enter a new dialogue with our customers and move from short term transactional requests to a more collaborative partnership to address their long-term needs.
As we look to 2022, we plan to further expand our capsules capacity to meet global demand. Our priority is to build on our strong foundation and focus on innovative solutions across new technologies, services and capabilities. These include our LMP technologies, combination capsules, next generation enteric capsules, new ingredient claims and our concept to market innovations services. Enabling our customers to innovate will also bring new collaborations and mutual benefits.
We furthered our commitment to our formulation solutions portfolio in 2021 by strengthening our collaboration with customers. One example was with Kaged Muscle, who was the first to introduce our new TWK10® sports probiotic under the Pro-biotic Premium Performance brand. The company also used our Capsugel® DRcaps® capsules, which offer a modified release profile beneficial for probiotics ingredients.
In addition, we announced the expansion of our UC-II® undenatured collagen ingredient line, which supplements joint health. The new UC-II® supplement is made with organic, non-GMO collagen, making it one of the only organic joint health supplements in the US. The new offering helps dietary supplement manufacturers differentiate their product in an increasingly competitive market.
We are developing a breakthrough technology platform to manufacture novel functional capsules. The first product in development is a next generation enteric capsule with optimal properties. This means it does not release or degrade during stomach transit and helps ensure a swift release in the distal intestine.
This new capsule will enable us to answer a pressing market need for more effective oral drug products. Indeed, many new drugs intended for oral administration are easily degraded by the acid and enzymes found in the upper gastrointestinal tract and thus require a truly enteric dosage form. Peptides, RNA-based therapeutics or Live Biotherapeutic Products are prime examples. This ready-to-use capsule will allow the customer to gain time in process development and manufacturing and bring new drug products to market faster.
Our main achievements in 2021 were the introduction of the commercial manufacturing process and machines and the confirmation of in vitro and in vivo enteric performance. The confirmation of the suitability of the capsule was achieved by working closely with lead users. The new capability to further customize the capsule to specific customer needs was another important achievement.