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Medherant: Game-changing drug delivery technology



John Burt is CEO of Medherant – a West Midlands-based company developing innovative treatments using transdermal drug delivery technology.

Formerly CEO of Abzena and Thiakis, John has many years’ experience of working with development stage companies.

Health Tech World sat down with John to learn about Medherant’s innovative TEPI Patch and its potential applications in women’s health and beyond.

“Transdermal drug delivery offers a number of advantages to other routes,” John tells Health Tech World.

“You can deliver a sustained dose over a number of days and ensure that the drug is used as intended.

“It’s much easier than having to remember to take an oral dose every few hours.”

Patches are also better at preventing peaks and troughs than other forms of more frequent delivery such as oral delivery.

Patches also provide better dose control than gels and creams for transdermal delivery, John says.

The method is safer too, minimising the risk of a drug transferring from person to person through the skin or being absorbed by clothing.

“Last but not least, some drugs are metabolised as they pass through the liver, which can impact on safety and efficacy,” John adds

“That’s one of the issues with testosterone, for example, where transdermal testosterone is very much the preferred route of administration because of the side effects associated with oral administration.”

The transdermal patch is not a new innovation.

The FDA approved a motion sickness patch in 1979 and patches for pain relief and nicotine replacement are widely available.

However, the TEPI Patch has a number of features that make it superior to other patches on the market.

This is thanks, in large part, to its adhesive, developed by Prof. David Haddleton of the University of Warwick and Medherant’s team of chemists.

The university remains a shareholder in Medherant, with Medherant located at the University of Warwick Science Park.

The ‘goal net-like’ matrix of Medherant’s S-PURE adhesive enables higher drug loading, it is well-tolerated and it prevents the drug from flowing onto the surrounding skin.

John adds:

“Similarly, from a regulatory and safety perspective, there’s no issue of small molecule impurities coming from the adhesive that could potentially cause an irritant reaction or raise safety concerns.”

                       John Burt

Medherant is preparing to file its first TEPI Patch clinical trial application to the MHRA.

A testosterone patch for postmenopausal women would be the only such product on the market.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that testosterone supplementation be considered for menopausal women with low sexual desire if hormone replacement therapy alone is not effective.

John explains:

“The particular indication in the first instance would be hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Around a third of postmenopausal women can suffer from it.

“There are wider benefits of testosterone and so, in the fullness of time, we will be looking at applying the technology in these areas.

John sees countless potential applications for the patch, both within women’s health and in areas such as pain and neurodegenerative disease.

Medherant is also developing a transdermal patch with a major pharmaceutical company, though John can’t announce who just yet.

Following success in the lab, the patch is now moving towards clinical trials.

But while John has high hopes for these promising third-party applications, he’s confident that Medherant’s testosterone patch will be the first to reach the market.

He says:

“I always say that we’re pushing at open doors.

“There’s clear payer recognition of the need for testosterone patches as evidenced by the NICE guidelines.

“There’s clear clinician demand in terms of the clinical guidelines for testosterone use.

“We’ve consulted with MHRA, and we know what we need to do for development.

“And most of all, there are many, many women who are desperate for a testosterone patch.”

Some of these women could try the patch as soon as early autumn, should the clinical trial receive MHRA approval over the summer as expected.

That will then enable Medherant to move into definitive clinical trials in 2024.

John says:

“Supporting that will be the scale up in manufacturing and expanding the programme.

“We’re very excited about reaching that significant milestone and moving things forward.”

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