Direct Investments

Pharmaceutical expert Ken Cunningham appointed as chair to Medherrant

Medherant, a University of Warwick spinout that joined Mercia Technologies’ portfolio of direct investments in September 2016, has strengthened its board further with the appointment of pharmaceutical expert Ken Cunningham as chair.

Ken has been instrumental in bringing innovative pharmaceutical research to market. He is currently non-executive director of Sunergos Innovations Ltd and Verona Pharma plc, and the former chair of Abzena plc. He brings with him over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and joins Medherant as the company prepares to take its TEPI Patch technology into clinical studies.

Ken Cunningham commented, “I am delighted to join Medherant as Chairman as the team progresses the company’s TEPI Patch® technology into clinical development. Medherant’s novel transdermal drug delivery patch technology offers significant benefits to patients and the potential to generate value for Medherant’s shareholders. I look forward to contributing to the success of the company.”

Dr Mark Payton, CEO of Mercia Technologies PLC, said: “Mercia has previously worked with Ken when he chaired PolyTherics, and after it acquired Mercia’s portfolio company Warwick Effects Polymers, and took the business onto AIM as Abzena plc. We are delighted that he has taken up this post. Ken has over two decades of experience in this sector and his appointment reflects the enormous potential offered by the TEPI patch initially developed by Bostik, an important partner.”

This appointment follows a syndicated £1.5million fundraising round in September 2016, of which Mercia contributed £650,000. The funding allowed Medherant to advance pre-clinical studies of its TEPI Patch, which is initially being developed for use with the pain relief drugs Ibuprofen and methyl salicylate.

As one of Mercia’s key sectors, life sciences offers a range of opportunities for investment, particularly outside of the South East. Medherant, now an “emerging star” in Mercia’s direct investment portfolio, was identified as a strong investment by Mercia’s Head of Universities, Dr Nicola Broughton, due to the innovation of its patch design and its strong team of life science professionals. The technology was validated further after Medherant secured a key industry partner to assist in the manufacture of its patch in 2015.

The TEPI Patch is designed to address problems with existing patches on the market, by giving a higher, more controlled dose directly to the area where it is needed over a period of as long as 24 hours. It has a strong fit with certain novel drugs that themselves are often unsuitable for oral administration.