Europe's largest thin film manufacturer looks to make splash in US market

BioFilm Ltd., a Scottish manufacturer of thin dissolving films, is expanding its offerings into the US, believing that it has the production and formulation capability to transform what has been a fairly quiescent market, the company’s North American marketing partner says.


“They are Europe’s largest manufacturer of thin dissolving films, with dedicated equipment and dedicated staff,” Kathy Meserve, a business development specialist with Techonology Development Group (TDG) told NutraIngredients-USA. “There are significant efficiencies with that. BioFilm does offer a one stop shop for TDF development.”

TDG, based in North Carolina’s research triangle, is a life sciences consultancy that, since its founding in 1999, has managed US market entry efforts for ten European companies.  BioFilm signed an agreement with TDG earlier this year.

Advantages, limitations of films

Thin dissolving films have some specific applications. The technology is limited to bioactives that require only relatively small dosages because the films are incapable of handling large payloads, Merserve said. “When they say thin film, they really mean thin film,” she said. 

But the delivery mode does offer real advantages, too. It’s ideal for parents to give to kids who might balk at swallowing pills and for seniors who might have actual difficulty swallowing large pills or capsules. And in the case of a melatonin sleep aid (one of the applications that BioFilm has ready to go), a consumer who is having trouble falling asleep could pop in a quick dissolving strip while in bed without having to go to the kitchen for a glass of water, Meserve said.

Manufacturing advantages

With all that being said, the technology has been around for years and while it has made some inroads in the OTC drug market, it has hardly set the nutritional world on fire in terms of sales or product launches. After careful consideration, BioFilm, based near Glasgow, decided now was a good time to enter the market, believing that the advantages it can bring to customers can transform the application picture, Meserve said. 

Those advantages arise mostly from BioFilm’s size, proprietary production techniques and integrated manufacturing.  According to the company, they include:

  • Ability to work with water and oil soluble actives
  • Competitive pricing because of BioFilm’s large volumes
  • One stop shop manufacturing including cutting and packaging of films and labeling
  • Multiple delivery platforms including cellulose, pectins, starches and polyvinyl alchohol, meaning an ability to deal with a broad array of active ingredients
  • Formulation expertise including suspension, encapsulation and taste masking of difficult-to-work-with or bitter actives
  • And a proprietary low-temperature drying technique suited to even delicate active ingredients.

On-the-go positioning

In addition to kids and seniors, Meserve said BioFilm is targeting the technology to an on-the-go audience.  The company has developed a caffeine strip aimed at the demographic that is consuming energy shots today.

“Rather than stopping for a $3 energy shot, we have caffeine strips that are a lot less expensive. It’s more for the athlete audience, the travelers audience. We can forsee offering a product like that in airports,” Meserve said.

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