Press Room

Press Release / Jun 09, 2009

Cotec awards Hovione their Innovation Prize

Loures, Portugal, June 9th, 2009 – Hovione has won the prestigious 2009 Innovation Prize from COTEC, Portugal’s leading association of innovative businesses. The prize was awarded on June 3rd by the President of the Republic of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, for the company’s technical and commercial success in the field of spray-drying, to Filipe Gaspar, PhD, Hovione’s lead scientist in the project and Director of the Particle Science Discipline at Hovione and to Peter Villax, member of the Board. Hovione’s advances in this field have led to key enabling solutions for innovative pharmaceuticals.

President Cavaco Silva said: “This award, which I have had the pleasure to hand over to Hovione, aims to single out ambition and courage. It rewards the ability to think “out of the box”, to take original actions and to do better; to identify opportunities, to challenge risks and to win. I congratulate the Company for being selected by such a distinguished jury”. Spray drying today is used at Hovione to manipulate the physical attributes of particles in a controlled manner in three approved commercial APIs and in dozens of projects in various phases of development. Hovione is today the established world leader in this area of technology with extensive R&D capabilities and a wide range of production capacities under the highest standards of cGMP. The capabilities span across all scales; from inhalation and injectable grade of compounds, small and large molecules, with activity up to category 3 (Occupational Exposure Limit: 0.03 - 10 µg/m3). Hovione expects another two spray-dried compounds to see their NDAs filed at FDA in the next 12 months.

“We received this award for several reasons – first because its use impacts dramatically the bio-availability of compounds, it also allows to tailor the API to desired physical attributes, it is a perfect technique to combine excipients with API in a perfect blend; and secondly because we showed how a hundred year old technique -well known for making powdered milk- can be made to have innovative and successful commercial applications in new and sophisticated uses and turn dead drug candidates into approved drugs” – said Peter Villax, Hovione board member, who leads a number of inhalation projects in this field, including pulmonary delivery of proteins.

Filipe Gaspar PhD concluded – “It is really on behalf of my team that I am delighted to receive this award – it is great to see our work recognized like this, we all work really long hours. Nothing beats a smiling client, but having the Head of State telling me “well done” really made my day ! ”.

Innovative Product Award candidate project:

The objective of the project was to develop and implement Spray Drying technologies to produce high quality pharmaceutical products. These technologies enhance the physical properties of the product and offer the possibility to precisely control the particle attributes to meet target requirements. Optimal sizing and shaping the particles, together with a variety of encapsulation options, can improve product stability and bioavailability and the possibility to simplify the formulation of the final product. Designed to support both Custom Synthesis and Generic Product customers, Hovione’s spray drying technology, out of water or organic solvents, is complemented by complete R&D and analytical capabilities studies on particle properties as per specific product requirements, thus offering all expertise and capabilities for successful product development. Hovione has installed lab and commercial scale pharmaceutical spray dryers able to handle high potency products in Portugal, New Jersey and Ireland. These units are located in segregated areas of the plant and meet Pharma GMP standards.


Cotec Portugal, the Business Association for Innovation, joined Cotec Europe in April 2003, following the initiative of the President of Portugal, with the mission of promoting the competitiveness of companies established in Portugal, through the development and the diffusion of a cultural and practice of innovation as well as of “resident” knowledge. Cotec Europe is a foundation, that includes the member states Spain, Portugal and Italy. Cotec Spain adopted the Foundation status in October 1992 in response to a suggestion made by His Majesty the King of Spain.

About Hovione

Hovione is an international company with 50 years’ experience in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient development and compliant manufacture. With four FDA inspected sites in the US, China, Ireland and Portugal the company focuses on serving the most demanding customers in the most regulated markets. The company also offers integrated API, particle design and formulation development and manufacturing. In the inhalation area, Hovione is the only independent company offering such a broad range of services.

For further information about Hovione, please visit the Hovione site at or contact Corporate Communications (Isabel Pina, + 351 21 982 9362, e-mail:

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