EPISODE 11: A View On History of Capsule Manufacturing


Tracing the Evolution and Future of Capsule Manufacturing

In this episode, we are joined by Ljiljana Palangetic, Associate Director of Hard Capsules R&D, and Bram Baert, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs from Lonza, to delve into the intricacies of capsule manufacturing and the evolution of drug delivery technologies.

Your grandmother might have told you to “just swallow your medicine,” suggesting that you may have to endure something unpleasant but necessary. Today, however, this old saying might not ring true, as capsules have become ubiquitous in modern medicine. Favored by 44% of consumers, capsules simplify medication intake with their ease of swallowing and ability to mask unpleasant tastes. From ancient Egyptian leather pouches to modern high-tech production lines, capsules have undergone significant transformations, seamlessly integrating into our daily lives. Swallowing one’s medicine has never been so easy.

Yet the role of capsules has expanded far beyond taste masking. Today, they are engineered to deliver drugs to specific parts of the intestine, dissolve at controlled rates, and even contain multiple medications in one unit. This adaptability not only improves patient compliance but also caters to a myriad of medical needs. As we look toward the future, the potential for capsules in drug delivery is boundless, driven by continuous innovation and a deep understanding of materials science.

As mentioned in the podcast, if you haven’t already listened to episode 9 of this season, you can find out more about targeted drug delivery using capsules here.

Curious to Know More? Join us in this conversation hosted by Martina Hestericova with Lonza's Ljiljana Palangetic and Bram Baert as they unveil the advancements in capsule manufacturing technologies and their impact on modern drug delivery systems.


Regulatory Affairs are crucial for ensuring that all pharmaceutical products, including capsules, adhere to legal and regulatory standards. Professionals in regulatory affairs navigate the complex landscape of pharmaceutical manufacturing, particularly focusing on consumer and patient safety, by collaborating with health authorities to establish and update regulations that ensure the safety and efficacy of capsules.

Two-piece Capsules consist of a cap and a body that fit together, making them a versatile choice for different types of medication delivery. The design innovations of two-piece capsules have evolved significantly since their inception in the mid-19th century. They accommodate a multitude of materials such as powders or granules and playing a crucial role in modern automated manufacturing processes.

Designed to pass through the stomach intact and dissolve in the intestines, enteric capsules are crucial for drugs that can be deactivated by stomach acid or may cause irritation to the stomach lining. This technology ensures that medication is released in the part of the gastrointestinal tract where its absorption is optimized, thereby enhancing both the drug's effectiveness and patient comfort.

The use of polymer solutions is integral to forming the shells of capsules, particularly in technologies where a capsule is dipped into the solution, allowing the polymer to dry and harden. The choice of polymer affects the capsule's dissolution rate and stability, which is critical for ensuring that the drug is released at the correct rate and location in the body.

Made from thin membranes derived from the small intestines of sheep, SAPARIS capsules are an early form of specialized drug delivery technology. They were designed to allow for a slow dissolution rate, aiming to improve the timing of drug release within the body. This technology showcases the evolution of capsule materials from organic origins to today's synthetic and semi-synthetic materials used in capsule manufacturing.

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