Probiotic encapsulation technology attracts industry heavyweight

Probiotic encapsulation technology attracts industry heavyweight

By Shane Starling, 24-Feb-2011


A patent-pending probiotic technology developed by Belgian start-up Vésale Pharma is being eyed major firms keen to develop products employing the technology’s stated bioavailability-boosting potential.

Last week Vésale Pharma hosted a presentation of the IntelCaps microencapsulation technology it developed over more than a year in conjunction with a German lab, BRACE, at its headquarters just outside of Brussels.

About 30 company representatives were in attendance including those from Merck, Chr Hansen, Lallemand, Enestia, Greentech and Atral Cipan.

At least one representative at the meeting spoken to by NutraIngredients said it would have a product on-shelf, probably in Belgium to begin with, by the end of the Summer.

An OTC probiotic supplement launch has been confirmed for early in the summer by an independent contractor using the Vésale.

Vésale Pharma International manager Johan Quintens was delighted with the response to a technology that was developed using the lactobacillus rhamnosisstrain but which can be applied to any probiotic strain, or even other ingredients.

“There a lot of companies that we have been buying probiotics probiotics from them, now for the first time they are interested in buying something from us,” Quintens said

“All of these big probiotic companies already had projects in microencapsulation but it is not so easy to find the gentle technology so that you do not put too much stress on the probiotics – otherwise you will kill them before they can bring any benefit to the body.”

“So we are very excited that this year will see the first commercialisation of the technology this year in the form of an OTC food supplement.”

The smallsphereprocess

The technology is available for €800-€1200/kg when using Vésale Pharma’s own strains but can be applied to other strains.

The secret to the technology developed by BRACE is the “smallsphere” method that employs molecules of between 0.6 and 1 micro metres, dimensions approaching nano levels.

“The probiotics are in the beadlets so that offers production savings as well as they are easier to handle,” Quintens said.

Traditionally probiotics have existed in lyophilised probiotics in powder form which are not suitable for tablets, or chewable tablets that may come in the form of vitamin and mineral blends.