Vitaquest expands manufacturing capability with acquisition of Pharmachem facility

By Claudia Adrien

- Last updated on GMT

© Cecilie-Arcurs / Getty Images
© Cecilie-Arcurs / Getty Images

Related tags Manufacturing acquisition

Vitaquest International has acquired a powder processing facility from New Jersey-based Pharmachem Laboratories, a division of Ashland Inc., to help its customers develop, manufacture, and commercialize a broad range of consumer products across the nutraceutical, functional food, and beverage markets.

The deal means Vitaquest can now provide application-specific product development, pilot and commercial manufacturing solutions using fluid bed technology for granulation, agglomeration, microencapsulation, and drying and blending of liquid and powder ingredients.

“Powder and particle engineering are important parts of creating the highest quality, most effective products and have long been a part of our manufacturing mix,” said Patrick Brueggman, president and CEO of Vitaquest. “Most companies in our industry outsource this highly specialized capability.” 

 Bringing this capability in-house and branding it as VQ Technologies builds on the company’s commitment to quality and its ability to broaden product offerings, helping customers get to market faster, he added.  

Spurring innovation

Vitaquest highlighted that most dietary supplement contract manufacturers do not have locally based granulation, agglomeration, or microencapsulation capabilities, noting that outsourcing these services increases cost and production complexities. 

According to the firm, the acquisition makes Vitaquest one of the world’s only dietary supplement and functional food product commercialization companies with in-house capability, extending its offerings from raw material processing, formulation, and supplement manufacturing to packaging and fulfillment services.  

Gregory Drew, vice president of innovation for Vitaquest, said the acquisition will spur innovation and that driving value means being able to work on projects that might have otherwise been cost prohibitive. It provides customers with options for vendor consolidation, cost reduction, and simplified logistics.

“Across the supplement, food and beverage industries, innovation in product forms and delivery systems is a hot trend and a huge driver of value,” he added. “We can take our customers places we couldn’t before. Add these to the end-to-end quality and product development efficiency this acquisition offers, and we have a win for Vitaquest and our customers.” 

Precision control 

The Pharmachem facility has offered expertise in fluidized bed processing for ingredients, flavors and formulated products for decades. Several of these processes are required to prepare powder formulations for optimal processing in tableting and capsule production. These processes can influence physical properties like flowability, compression and compaction, dissolution, and uniformity, as well as product performance concerns like dosing accuracy, release time, mouthfeel, taste masking and appearance.  

Within the fluidized bed process, granulation creates denser, more uniform particles from lighter, less uniform powders resulting in less dust and less caking with improved flow, compaction and compression properties for efficient tablet and capsule manufacturing, according to a company press release. 

Agglomeration creates larger, porous powders from loose particles, improving flow, performance and appearance of food, beverage, and dietary supplement powders. Microencapsulation creates a barrier coating on particles resulting in powders with modified physical, sensory, stability, release and performance characteristics designed to solve a specific problem challenge. Fluid bed drying enables uniform powders with specified moisture and water activity levels every time. 

Continued growth

The facility acquired by Vitaquest is its fourth in New Jersey. 

In 2019, the company leased a new manufacturing site​ in Parsippany, expanding Vitaquest’s total footprint to 500,000 square feet. That manufacturing space was divided to support multiple operations, including pharmacy, blending, encapsulation, and compression departments.  

Vitaquest creates more than 4,000 custom formulas each year and produces more than 2 billion doses of tablets annually, as well as different forms of capsules and powders. The company serves more than 500 brands in 40 countries. 


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