Roquette Launches LYCAGEL Flex Hydroxypropyl Pea Starch Premix

May 14th 2024

Roquette elevates softgel technology with gelatin alternative capsules based on hydroxypropylated starch.

Roquette, a company involved in plant-based ingredients and a provider of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical excipients, has launched its new LYCAGEL Flex hydroxypropyl pea starch premix for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical softgel capsules.

Built on Roquette’s LYCAGEL pea starch technology, the new plasticizer-free excipient gives manufacturers freedom to select the optimal plasticizer combination and customize formulations for a range of production and end-user needs.

According to Roquette, LYCAGEL Flex represents “the ultimate solution for manufacturers seeking a quality, plant-based alternative to gelatin, with the added flexibility to handle a wide range of – often complex – soft capsule formulations.”

The new premix features the same hydroxypropyl pea starch and carrageenan foundation as the original LYCAGEL VS 720 Premix, with a new formula that allows producers to select the perfect plasticizer or combination of plasticizers for unique softgel formulations. Versatile and easy to use, LYCAGEL Flex offers countless opportunities to work with specialized capsule fills and process parameters to meet the demands of the evolving pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets.

Lycagel Flex provides formulators with flexible alternatives to gelatin-based softgel capsules and taps into the demand for animal-free solutions.

“At Roquette, our guiding purpose is to solve the toughest challenges in drug delivery,” comments Steve Amoussou-Guenou, Technical Developer Manager Europe at Roquette. “This can take many forms; with the development of our LYCAGEL VS 720 Premix, the primary goal was to provide softgel producers with a high-quality ready-to-use alternative to gelatin. Now, as vegan capsules become more established, we recognize that our customers need greater control to customize their formulations. LYCAGEL Flex is the answer, offering the same stability and performance with the added flexibility to differentiate.”

LYCAGEL Flex offers softgel producers a plant-based solution that not only replaces gelatin, but equally offers significant process benefits. These include a reduced degassing time of just five minutes, versus the minimum 60 required for gelatin formulations, and the potential for easy equipment cleaning with only hot water.

Looking beyond the production line, the new premix delivers strong performance and stability throughout a product’s shelf life. Upon testing, capsules produced using LYCAGEL Flex maintained a clear, shiny appearance and optimal hardness with no sticking or seal leakage following six months of storage at 40° C and 75% relative humidity (RH). With no significant increase in disintegration time or water content after months in storage, the capsules did not display crosslinking, demonstrating their ability to maintain the same mechanical strength and capsule integrity at day 180, as they had directly after the production process.


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