University spin-out, Medherant, is developing the world’s first ibuprofen pain relief patch, based on research conducted at the University of Warwick and a productive relationship with the adhesives company, Bostik. Its success draws on effective networks and collaborations across and outside the University.

Already an established collaborator with Warwick, Bostik had developed a new adhesive material for clinical use and were looking for partners. Following meetings between Professor David Haddleton of the Department of Chemistry and Bostik’s European R&D Director, the research team was given permission to test Bostik’s novel adhesive as a potential drug delivery vehicle.

Working with Warwick Ventures, the University’s technology transfer company, the research was steered towards the area of pain relief, where using a transdermal patch to deliver generic drugs was seen as a comparatively low-cost method that could cut the time to get a product to market.

The University of Warwick provided proof of concept funding to see if it could be made to work with ibuprofen and methyl salicylate. The prototype patches were tested on pork joints to see if drug molecules would transfer
through to the skin. The results were impressive, showing that high drug loadings could be achieved and the drug released steadily over several hours.

Warwick Ventures provided resources for the preparation of a business plan for a spinout company and identified experienced management who knew the market to bring into the team. With Warwick Ventures’ help, the newly minted spin-out company, Medherant, licensed in Bostik’s novel adhesive material for medical use.

“Establishing successful new businesses always depends on being able to put the right partnerships in place and having a good network. The excellent work by Andrew Lee in our team, together with the vision and expertise of Professor Haddleton, helped find a commercial route for this research. Just as important, though, was the strength of the underlying collaborations with colleagues in Warwick’s Corporate Relations and especially with Bostik. All these elements have given Medherant a valuable head start.”

Quentin Compton-Bishop, CEO of Warwick Ventures

The Medherant team pitched successfully for seed funding from the venture capital firm, Mercia Fund Management. Based in the University of Warwick Science Park, the company has since gone from strength to strength. It has already had to expand its office and laboratory space to accommodate a growing product development team. Follow-on investment was received from Mercia in May 2016, and the company completed a £1.5 million investment
round in September 2016. Medherant has also just appointed highly experienced chairman, Ken Cunningham, to its board.