Evonik Increases Global Supply of Pharma-Grade Plant-Derived Cholesterol for mRNA Vaccines & Gene Therapies

Evonik has boosted its supply of plant-derived cholesterol, one of the most critical components for the manufacture of mRNA vaccines and gene therapies. The large-scale production of PhytoChol in Hanau, Germany, will meet an increased market demand for cholesterol. This lipid is one of the key excipients in the lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) used in COVID-19 vaccines. Rapid advances in research make lipid-based drug delivery increasingly relevant for a broader range of therapeutics, including vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer immunotherapy.

An increased supply of PhytoChol supports the growth trajectory of Evonik’s Health Care business, which is part of the life sciences division, Nutrition & Care. By expanding manufacturing capacities for PhytoChol, Nutrition & Care strengthens its portfolio of system solutions for advanced drug delivery. The division aims to increase the share of system solutions from 20 percent today, to more than 50 percent by 2030.

“As one of the few suppliers of high-quality, non-animal-derived cholesterol for the pharmaceutical industry, we are proud to provide innovators with a critical excipient for a wide range of innovative nucleic acid therapeutics,” said Dr. Thomas Riermeier, head of Evonik’s Health Care business line. “Increasing our supply of PhytoChol is a timely step to further fuel the development of mRNA and gene therapies as well as biopharmaceutical cell culture applications.”

PhytoChol is non-animal derived and, therefore, minimizes risks associated with cholesterol from animal origin, such as undesired immunological responses and inconsistent quality. It is an essential excipient for the lipid-based delivery of large molecules such as mRNA. PhytoChol is available in two grades that are tailored to the specific needs of injectables and biopharmaceutical cell culture applications.

As an integrated contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), Evonik Health Care has been a leader for advanced drug delivery for many decades, supporting pharmaceutical companies worldwide with end-to-end CDMO services for the development and production of complex parenteral drug products.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €15 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.38 billion in 2021. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable and sustainable solutions for customers. About 33,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life today and tomorrow.

The focus of the business of the Nutrition & Care division is on health and quality of life. It develops differentiated solutions for active pharmaceutical ingredients, medical devices, nutrition for humans and animals, personal care, cosmetics, and household cleaning. In these resilient end markets, the division generated sales of €3.56 billion in 2021 with about 5,300 employees.