Darmstadt, Germany, December 19, 2018 — Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced it has extended and expanded its collaboration with Kuraray Europe to exclusively supply pharmaceutical polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) grades and improvements to benefit the pharmaceutical market. PVA polymers are used as matrix/drug delivery compounds to assist in drug formulation and help active pharmaceutical ingredients enter the human body efficiently.
“Demand for controlled release excipients is growing,” said Andrew Bulpin, head of Process Solutions, Life Science, at Merck. “This agreement will provide a steady PVA polymer supply so that Merck can continue to develop valuable solutions to help pharmaceutical industry customers solve new challenges and deliver increasingly effective therapies to patients.”
Merck’s design know-how, in combination with Kuraray’s manufacturing expertise, will make a wide variety of PVA polymer grades for pharmaceutical applications available. These compounds, including ones with various new properties, can help tackle pharmaceutical challenges. For instance, they can improve the controlled release of solid dosage forms and topically applied gels. The developments from this collaboration will include injectable grades with low levels of specific impurities.
PVA is a versatile polymer platform for use in developing drug formulations. Intrinsic polymer properties — molecular weight and hydrophilicity, for example — may be adjusted to meet the needs of specific formulations.
“With more than 60 years of experience and extensive production and application expertise, we can tailor the properties of our globally produced KURARAY POVAL™ PVA polymers precisely to our customers’ specifications,” said Heiko Mack, head of Poval business at Kuraray Europe GmbH. ”Our close and trusting relationships with our customers result in exceptional products and individual applications that meet today’s demanding standards.”
Merck and Kuraray began collaborating in 2008, with Kuraray supplying PVA grades to the company. PVA polymers form the backbone of several of Merck’s high value, state-of-the-art products for formulation and drug delivery, such as Parteck® MXP excipient for hot melt extrusion. These polymers are also the basis for numerous pharmaceutical-grade developments in Merck’s excipient pipeline.
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck generated sales of €16.2 billion in 66 countries.
Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science and EMD Performance Materials.