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Roquette’s Innovative Plant-Based Solution Unlocks Possibilities for Veggie Softgel Market


GENEVA, Illinois. (November 18, 2020)

Roquette, a global leader in plant-based ingredients, pioneer of plant proteins and world-leading provider of pharmaceutical excipients, has today announced the launch of its market-first pea starch technology – LYCAGEL™ – offering a pharmaceutical grade solution for vegetarian softgel capsule formulations. The first of its kind, the formulated system delivers excellent capsule performance, while enabling manufacturers and marketers to meet rising consumer demand for plant-based products.

Comprising pea starch; carrageenan – a setting agent sourced from marine macro algae; NEOSORB® sorbitol – a plant-based ingredient suitable for nutraceutical application; and Na+ (salt) – a jellifying agent; Roquette’s LYCAGEL™ system offers a plant-based solution suitable for both nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications that meets EU and US pharmacopeia standards.

“The launch of LYCAGEL™ marks a new era for softgel formulations and manufacturing. Manufacturers no longer need to compromise on performance when launching a vegetable softgel solution,” said Paul Smaltz, Head of Roquette’s Global Pharmaceutical business unit. “Designed to be easily adaptable to existing gelatin processes, LYCAGEL™ can support businesses in bringing vegetarian alternatives to market quickly, without significant changes to existing operations.”

Beyond processing parameters, the LYCAGEL™ system sets itself apart from other softgel approaches by offering excellent capsule strength, seal integrity, quick drying time with no stickiness, fast disintegration, and when compared to gelatin, no cross-linking and higher processing temperature suitability. In fact, LYCAGEL™ offers manufacturers greater flexibility to develop multi-ingredient and advanced formulations, as well as ingredients that require higher processing temperatures, such as pastes and waxes.

Smaltz adds: “LYCAGEL™ gives manufacturers the opportunity to take vegetarian softgel formulation further than ever before. As well as offering advanced performance, the pea starch system delivers on consumer visual appeal too – producing capsules with a transparent, shiny finish and excellent reproducibility. This launch represents Roquette’s continued commitment to ensuring its customers remain at the forefront of innovation.”

LYCAGEL™ is backed by full development support from Roquette, as an innovation partner to companies exploring this technology for their own customers. This includes materials for pilot scale; a technical data package detailing formulation, equipment and processing know-how; and remote or on-site technical scale-up support, all part of a contract research services offering to speed efficient scale-up and commercialization.
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