Developing Drug Dosage Delivery
The next generation of medical skin patches
Drugs can be delivered by a number of methods. Although creams, gels and pills all remain common choices, they each have their drawbacks. Professor David Haddleton has developed a real alternative to these options by reinventing the skin patch, which has led to the formation of the spin-out company, Medherant Ltd.
The new design incorporates the drug into new and designed polymer adhesives holding the patch onto the patient’s skin and acting as an efficient delivery mechanism. This allows for a more even dosage and more efficient drug loadings. Patches are more convenient for the patient, ensuring better compliance. As a result, a wider range of drugs than ever before can be delivered to more patients, and with greater ease.
Existing drug delivery methods all have their advantages and disadvantages. Pills and tablets can lead to spikes in drug levels within a patient’s body, potentially leading to unwanted side effects an inefficient dose regimes. Equally, many patients cannot take pills or tablets. Gels and creams are often inconvenient for patients and lack accurate dose control. Existing patches are only effective for a small range of drugs and lack the diversity offered by oral methods. There is also a need for methods of drug delivery that had the high loading of pills and tablets, but also ensures the gradual release offered by gels and creams.
In developing the ground-breaking TEPI Patch, Prof. Haddleton and colleagues at Medherant have designed a drug delivery system that prioritises several key qualities:
Smaller patches, with higher payloads than currently available
The elimination of ‘cold flow’ (the black ring around the edge of patches)
Less frequent administration than other methods
Better adhesion, even when wet
Professor Haddleton’s work has led to the establishment of the spinout company, Medherant Ltd, which has attracted over £8 million of external investment since 2015 and employs 20 people. Two Phase One clinical trials have already been completed, and another four are due to begin soon. These include well-known drugs such as Ibuprofen.
Medherant Ltd has attracted global attention from companies keen to use this new technology for their drugs, and has gained industrial recognition, including Coventry Telegraph's Excellence in Science and Technology Award (2017) and Mills and Reeve’s Innovation 50 which ranks 50 of the Midlands’ most innovative businesses. The TEPI Patch® will revolutionise the delivery of many drugs, especially those with lower potency. Patients will enjoy greater ease-of-use and a decreased likelihood of side effects.