Leading Companies Manufacturing Thermoplastic Polymer for Pharmaceutical Industry

Published: November 2023


Thermoplastic polymer has emerged as the most common type of pharmaceutical polymer being manufactured nowadays, owing to their various benefits including lightweight, high durability, recyclable nature and relatively low production cost.We analyzed more than 80 companies manufacturing thermoplastic polymers for biopharma industry. In this article, discover the top 5 thermoplastic polymer manufacturing companies.


Polymers are materials consisting of long, repetitive chains of structural units (also known as monomers) that are bound together by strong covalent bonds. Currently, polymers are employed in several sectors, such as agricultural, aircraft, automotive, consumer science, medicine, packaging and sports. Specifically, in the pharmaceutical domain, polymers have been used as excipients in formulations (to offer sustained release, enhance stability and mask bitter taste), packaging material for storing drugs (such as ampoules, blood bags, medication bottles, syringes, and vials) and medical device coating materials (to enable the insertion of catheters in difficult anatomical pathways with least tissue irritation, and prevent contamination by microorganisms). Further, based on their molecular forces, polymers can be classified into thermoplastic polymers, thermosetting polymers, elastomers and fibers. Thermoplastic polymers are a class of polymers that can be easily softened and molded by the application of heat; some common examples include polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride.

In the past few years, there has been an upsurge in the research and development of polymers with improved biocompatibility, biodegradability and functionality. It is believed that the advancements in the domain of pharmaceutical / medical polymers have the potential to improve patient outcomes, as well as quality of life, thereby attracting the attention of stakeholders in biomedical engineering. In addition, the recycling of polymer products has gained traction amongst stakeholders; it is considered to be an essential initiative in order to promote sustainability in the healthcare industry and reduce the environmental impact of medical waste. 

Roots Analysis has conducted an exhaustive study on Pharmaceutical Polymers / Medical Polymers Market, featuring the current market landscape and future opportunities for companies manufacturing different types of pharmaceutical thermoplastic polymer. Within medical polymers market, medical plastics market is a fast growing segment. Specifically, in terms of type of polymer, the market is anticipated to be primarily driven by thermoplastic polymers.

Table of Contents

Below, we have listed (in alphabetical order), the top 5 companies manufacturing thermoplastic polymer for the pharmaceutical industry:

  1. Americhem
  2. Celanese
  3. DSM 
  4. Evonik
  5. Lubrizol Life Science

Interested in exploring all 80+ thermoplastic polymer manufacturers across various regions?

Americhem, Engaged in Providing Custom Thermoplastic Compounds (having high quality, performance and biocompatibility) for Medical Device Manufacturers

Americhem - Thermoplastic Polymer

Americhem is engaged in the designing and manufacturing of color masterbatch, engineered compounds, functional additives and performance technologies. The diverse spectrum of the company’s capabilities spans across various sectors, including aerospace and defense, building and construction, electronics, healthcare, packaging and transportation. Further, the company claims to operate through 12 locations across Asia-Pacific, Europe and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Owing to its expertise of more than 40 years, the firm specializes in the development of advanced medical plastic polymers (thermoplastics) with desired structural and functional properties. It is important to highlight that the company has received various regulatory certifications, including IATF 16949:2016, ISO 9001:2015, ISO 13485:2016, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 17025:2017.

The following table provides information on thermoplastic polymers for pharmaceutical / medical use manufactured by Americhem.

Parameter Description
Composition of Polymer
  • Fluorocarbon-based Polymer (Ethylene Chlorotrifluoroethylene, Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene, Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene, Polyvinylidene Fluoride)
  • Plastic
  • Polyester (Polycarbonate)
  • Polyether (Polyaryletherketone, Poly Ether Ether Ketone,  Polyetherketone, Polyetherketoneketone, PolyEtherKetoneEtherKetoneKetone)
  • Polyetherimide
  • Sulphur-based Polymer (Polysulfone, Polyethersulfone)
  • Vinyl-based Polymer (Polyvinyl Chloride)
Method of Processing 
  • Extrusion
  • Molding
Application Areas
  • Connected Devices
  • Drug Delivery Devices / Drug Delivery Device Components
  • Diagnostic Devices
  • Excipients
  • Medical Devices
  • Medical Device Housings
  • Medical Labware
  • Packaging
  • Respiratory Oxygen Delivery Devices
  • Surgical Instruments / Solutions / Equipment

 

Key Insights:

  • In May 2023, Americhem completed the expansion of its manufacturing facility located in Denmark; through the expansion, the company sets up a new 15,000 sq. ft. facility (including additional production lines and quality control labs) and doubles the production capacity of the existing site.

Owing to the Great Profile of Mechanical and Physical Properties, the Medical Grade Polymers Developed by Celanese are Employed in Innovative Applications

Celanese - Thermoplastic Polymer

Celanese is engaged in the manufacturing of chemical intermediates and specialty products, having a global network of commercial offices, technical centers and over 50 production plants.  The company has four product segments, namely:

  • Acetyl Chain: The company produces various acetyl products, including acetic acid, acetic anhydride, acetate esters and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM); these materials are used as starting materials in adhesives, coatings, colorants, paints and pharmaceuticals. 
  • Cellulose Acetate: Owing to its technical expertise of more than 100 years, the company manufactures cellulose acetate products for fields, such as film insulation, filtration and nonwovens. 
  • Engineered Materials: The business segment focuses on the development of high-performance polymers and thermoplastic elastomers, having superior features, such as good mechanical properties (stiffness and strength), and resistance to wear and tear. 
  • Food Ingredients: The business segment focuses on offering sweetening and preservative solutions, including acesulfame K, potassium sorbate and sorbic acid.  

Further, in January 2019, the company acquired Next Polymers in order to expand its thermoplastic polymer portfolio and cater to the demands of its clients.

The following table provides information on thermoplastic polymers for pharmaceutical / medical use manufactured by Celanese.

Parameter Description
Composition of Polymer
  • Cellulose-based Polymer (Cellulose Acetate)
  • Polyester (Liquid Crystal Polymer, Polybutylene Terephthalate)
  • Polyether (Acetal)
  • Polyolefin (Low Density Polyethylene)
  • Rubber (Thermoplastic Vulcanizates)
  • Styrene-based Polymer (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
  • Sulphur-based Polymer (Polyphenylene Sulfide) 
  • Vinyl-based Polymer (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)
Method of Processing 
  • Extrusion
  • Calandering
  • Coating
  • Physical Foaming
  • Thermoforming
  • Molding
Application Areas
  • Connected Devices
  • Diagnostic Devices
  • Drug Delivery Devices / Drug Delivery Device Components
  • Excipients
  • Fluid Handling Systems
  • Medical Implants
  • Packaging
  • Surgical Instruments / Solutions / Equipment

 

Key Insights:

  • In June 2023, Celanese (along with Nanoform Finland) presented an increase in delivery of drugs through smaller implants; further, the API nanoparticles were developed by combining the former company’s VitalDose® EVA copolymer delivery technology with the latter company’s CESS® technology.
  • In February 2023, the firm expanded its production capacity for ethylene vinyl acetate at its Edmonton, Alberta facility.
  • In February 202, the firm participated in MD&M West 2023, held in Anaheim, California. 
  • In November 2022, the firm acquired the Mobility and Materials (M&M) business segment of DuPont, that focuses on engineered thermoplastics and elastomers
  • In June 2022, the firm organized UHMWPE, PEEK, and Polymer Implant Additive Manufacturing Conference, in Torino, Italy.

With a Wide Range of Innovative Technologies, Efficient Quality Control System, Sophisticated Manufacturing Facilities Across the World, DSM Aims to Bring Advancements in the Medical Device Industry

DSM - Thermoplastic Polymer

DSM, a part of dsm-firmenich, is a company focusing on the development of products and solutions for health and nutrition sector. The company provides a broad platform of bioinert and bioabsorbable polymer, and ceramic combinations and composites. Further, it claims to be compliant with the regulations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the US.

The following table provides information on thermoplastic polymers for pharmaceutical / medical use manufactured by DSM.

Parameter Description
Composition of Polymer
  • Amide-based Polymer (Polyamide, Polyphthalamide, Polyester Amide)
  • Polyester (Polycaprolactone, Polycaprolactone, Polyglycolide / Poly Glycolic Acid, Polylactic Acid, Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid))
  • Polyether
  • Polyolefin (Polyethylene)
  • Polyurethane
Method of Processing 
  • Blow Fim
  • Extrusion
  • Molding
Application Areas
  • Drug Delivery Devices / Drug Delivery Device Components
  • Packaging
  • Surgical Instruments / Solutions / Equipments

 

Key Insights:

  • DSM offers customized materials (with varying biologic characteristics, mechanical properties and absorption times) to meet the needs and specifications of different individuals.

Evonik Offers Lab Scale to Large Volume Commercial Scale Manufacturing of its Biodegradable Polymers, Available Under the Brand Name RESOMER®

Evonik - Thermoplastic Polymer

Evonik specialized in the development of novel and sustainable solutions for its customers. The company primarily operates through five business segments, including Nutrition and Care, Performance Materials,  Smart Materials, Specialty Additives, and Technology and Infrastructure. Further, it claims to be active in over 100 countries, around the globe. Through its RESOMER® polymers, the company optimizes the biocompatibility and functionality of various implantable devices.

The following table provides information on thermoplastic polymers for pharmaceutical / medical use manufactured by Evonik.

Parameter Description
Composition of Polymer
  • Amino-based Polymer (Collagen)
  • Cellulose-based Polymer (Cellulosic)
  • Polyester (Lactide / Polylactide, Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid))
Method of Processing 
  • Extrusion
  • Molding
Application Areas
  • Dental Devices 
  • Bone Fixation Medical Devices
  • Diagnostic Devices / Reagents / Equipments 
  • Drug Delivery Devices / Drug Delivery Device Components
  • Excipients
  • Implants
  • Tissue Regeneration
  • Wound Care

 

Key Insights:

  • In September 2023, Evonik strengthened its parenteral drug delivery solutions domain with three new PLA-PEG di-block copolymers and a novel nanoparticle formulation service (using sonication technology).
  • In March 2023, Evonik and BellaSeno expanded their partnership for the development of novel 3D-printed scaffolds useful in bone regeneration; it is worth mentioning that the bone scaffolds were made using the former company’s Resomer® polymers.

Lubrizol’s Medical Grade Polymer (thermoplastic) Exhibit Compatibility with Ethylene Oxide, Gamma Radiation and e-beam Sterilization

Lubrizol - Thermoplastic Polymer

Lubrizol, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, strives to offer novel technologies for the consumer, industrial and transportation domain.  The company has two major business segments, namely Additives (focusing on driveline applications, industrial lubricants and other transportation-related fluids) and Advanced Materials (focusing on polymers, performance coatings, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals). Further, the company is engaged in offering high quality carbomers, used as bioavailability enhancers, sustained release agents, mucoadhesive aids, rheology modifiers, suspension stabilizers and tablet binders. It also claims to have made significant improvements in the Carbopol polymer family in order to help address the regulatory requirements, achieve product robustness and improve product handling.

The following table provides information on thermoplastic polymers for pharmaceutical / medical use manufactured by Lubrizol Life Science.

Parameter Description
Composition of Polymer
  • Acrylic Polymer 
  • Amino-based Polymer (Polyamino)
  • Polyether
  • Polyurethane
Method of Processing 
  • Coating
  • Extrusion
  • Molding
  • Solution
Application Areas
  • Connected Devices
  • Dental Devices
  • Excipients
  • Implants
  • Surgical Instruments / Solutions / Equipment

 

Key Insights:

  • The firm claims to serve clients in over 100 countries through its global sales and manufacturing networks
  • The company manufactures amphiphilic polymers, Apisolex™  that are biocompatible, biodegradable, non-immunogenic, non-toxic and increase the solubility of hydrophobic active pharmaceutical ingredients by 50,000-fold
  • In June 2023, the company licenses its novel excipient polymer technology, Apisolex™ excipient, to Welton Pharma, to develop and commercialize a novel formulation, SN-38 (useful in the treatment of colorectal and associated gastro-intestinal cancers).

What About the Other Pharmaceutical Thermoplastic Polymer Manufacturers?

The above presentation features the top 5 pharmaceutical thermoplastic polymer manufacturers selected from a pool of over 80 firms that we have compiled. If you're interested, you can download the Sample Report on this topic by Roots Analysis. For personalized assistance in identifying the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at sales@rootsanalysis.com.

About Author

Simran Kaur

Simran, a Senior Business Analysis, has been an integral part of the Roots Analysis team since 2020. Holding a Master’s and Bachelor’s in pharmacy from a prestigious institution, she embarked on her professional journey with a strong academic foundation and an interest in life sciences domain. Her keenness to learn more about the emerging trends, regulatory dynamics and technological advancements enables her to provide comprehensive analyses. Till date, she has diligently contributed to over 15 comprehensive research reports on trending topics, ranging from anti-aging therapeutics, allogeneic cell therapies, lipid nanoparticles, pre-sterilized pharmaceutical packaging to next generation sequencing kits.

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