Coventry-based bioadhesives company Medherant is building a new business working in hi-tech transdermal drug delivery systems that use specially formulated bioadhesives to provide novel adhesive patch-based products that can deliver drugs through contact with the skin.
It joins over 300 midlands businesses and research organizations who have benefited from the eight year long Science City Research Alliance which has now drawn to a close. The University of Warwick, Birmingham University, and those many businesses, are now celebrating the success of a programme that has brought together a diverse range of successful initiatives:
Over £65 million in science and business support funding brought into our region (Advantage West Midlands and the Higher Education Funding Council for England
Researchers using Science City equipment have now levered nearly £200 million in additional funding from UK research councils, European funding, Innovate UK and industry.
20 New spin-out companies have been created and 2 Spin-in companies attracted.
More than 450 knowledge intensive jobs have been created or safeguarded through the programme. A further 115 graduates have entered regional employment after completing PhDs, Masters or final year projects linked to Science City.
More than 300 regional businesses have engaged directly in the Science City programme. Many of these have gone on to develop longer-term collaborations with the universities. Around 170 workshops have been held engaging with research, industry and policy audiences.
More than 1500 people have been trained on the Science City equipment.
David Haddleton, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Warwick who specialises in new methods of polymer synthesis, was able to draw on support from the Science City programme to develop novel drug delivery technology that has led to the creation of Medherant Ltd, a bioadhesives company specialising in transdermal drug delivery.
. These transdermal patches expand the range of drugs that doctors can deliver, can significantly increase drug loading capabilities, provide a better experience for patients, enhance safety, deliver increased efficacy and economic benefits to the healthcare system. First products will include over-the-counter pain relief patches
Professor Haddleton said:
“We knew that one of the opportunities for funding from Science City Research Alliance was in the area of Advanced Materials. We made the case that Advanced Materials didn’t just mean making large items in robotic factories but that there were many opportunities for new materials that could be used to create highly skilled new jobs based around things such as medical devices and drug delivery."
“We were delighted to be successful in obtaining support for our research into a new class of biomedical adhesives. We formed Medherant and have now partnered with Bostik a world leader in smart adhesives technology.”
“There are only a limited number of existing polymers that have the right characteristics to be used for transdermal patches - that will stick to the skin and not leave residues. There are also only a limited number of drugs that will dissolve into these polymers. Many commercial patches surprisingly don’t contain any pain relief agents at all, they simply soothe the body by a warming effect.”
“We are now working with Bostik on materials that will allow us to use a much greater range of pain killers in transdermal patches.”
The Science city funding kick-started the work at Medherant and it has since gained additional funding and support from Warwick Ventures (the organization which helps commercialize the university’s research) to secure funding from Mercia Fund Management to build a new lab to take the research forward.
Nigel Davis CEO of Medherant said:
“We are grateful for the kick start provided by the Science City initiative. We expect to make significant announcements in the near future on specific breakthrough medical products that we are developing. We would expect to have the first of those products on the market in around 2 years. In addition to pain relief products, our technology also works with drugs for many other therapy areas. We can see considerable opportunities to partner with pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative products using our drug-delivery platform.”
Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said:
“The success of the Science City Research Alliance has shown just how much can be achieved when our regions business and research universities work together. While Science City has concluded we are just beginning to make the most of significant new opportunities for collaboration in our region including the University of Warwick’s engagement in the Midlands Energy Collaboration and the M6 group of six Midlands universities.”
For further information please contact:
Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy, University of Warwick
Tel UK: 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile
Tel Overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell
PR 360 PJD 7th September 2015