U.S. demand for pharmaceutical excipients is expected to increase by an average annual rate of 4.3 percent through 2018, with the market projected to reach a total value of $2 billion, according to a new report by industry market research firm The Freedonia Group.

Growth is also predicted in terms of volume, with demand seen to increase by 1.9 percent annually to 900 million pounds by the end of the period. Overall, the best opportunities for growth can be expected for excipients that offer a good balance of performance, cost and compatibility with other products, said Emily Park, analyst at The Freedonia Group.

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The report noted that excipients in oral formulations, such as tablets and capsules, will be well positioned for strong market performance, as overall shipments of such formulations are predicted to increase over the years through 2018. Similarly, demand for excipients in parenteral preparations is also forecast to increase, as those are expected to show robust growth.

One of the key trends that will determine market demand is product versatility and compatibility with various products, the report pointed out. The group of excipients that is most likely to benefit from this trend is polymers, including cellulose derivatives, povidone, polyethylene glycol, acrylic polymers, starch and natural gums, since these have multiple applications and are easily blended with other products, The Freedonia Group explained.