Ashland Expands Technical Services in China
US specialty chemicals company Ashland has expanded its technical center in Shanghai, China, following a major upgrade. The complex now offers an extended range of services for customers in the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. The expansion follows the opening earlier this month of an excipients facility in Nanjing, China.
Now double the size of the original complex built in 2008, the newly upgraded pharmaceutical center offers services including binding enhancement, disintegration improvement, modified release, solubilization and film coating to help customers enhance the performance of tablets and other solid dosage forms.
The Kentucky-headquartered firm explained that one of the pharmaceutical industry’s major challenges is the rise of complex drug molecules that require new formulation and manufacturing approaches. With the aid of more advanced equipment at the Shanghai site, Ashland said its scientists can improve the solubility and bioavailability of sophisticated drugs with novel excipient applications.
“Understanding excipient technologies and how they work within the context of specific drug molecules is our bailiwick,” said David Neuberger, vice president of pharmaceutical, nutrition and agricultural specialties, adding that bringing its specialized expertise and equipment to Shanghai is a “healthy” development for both Ashland and China’s pharmaceutical industry.
The center’s new equipment includes granulation, tableting and coating systems as well as pilot-scale manufacturing methods for continuous processing of oral dosage forms, such as hot-melt extrusion and spray drying of solid dispersions. “Everything is now in place to perform all critical drug-excipient analysis and relevant trials pertaining to our customers’ projects in Asia,” Neuberger said.
A nutrition center has also been opened at the Shanghai complex, housing additional facilities to help manufacturers of dairy, bakery, beverage and meat products solve their formulation and processing challenges.
The facilities include a new Ultra High Temperature (UHT) system and online homogenizer that can simulate conditions representing commercial milk production. The dairy industry continues to expand in Asia, and William Zhao, Ashland’s general manger of specialty ingredients, greater China, said UHT-processing fits well with the region’s significant need to secure low-fat milk products that taste great, exhibit good texture and remain stable for an extended period.
Ashland is a leading producer of cellulose gums, which are essentially a thickening agent used in foods to stabilize proteins and improve texture.