Tech investor Mercia Technologies has led a £3.8m funding round in University of Warwick spinout company Medherant, a developer of next-generation transdermal drug delivery patches.

This new funding will support the Coventry-based company as it moves into clinical development and the commercialisation of its ibuprofen TEPI Patch, as well as initiating development of its second product, a lidocaine TEPI Patch.

Medherant's TEPI Patch is a novel proprietary platform capable of delivering higher doses of drugs through the skin to act locally or systemically.

Transdermal delivery has many advantages, including fewer side effects, improved patient compliance and the potential to deliver drugs that are unsuitable for oral administration.

"We are grateful to have the continued financial support of Mercia and pleased to be working closely with the team as we move into the next exciting phase of Medherant's development," said chief executive Nigel Davis.

"Our TEPI Patch technology is generating global interest and we are now working with several leading pharmaceutical companies as we develop our own product pipeline."

Mark Payton, chief executive at Mercia, added: "Medherant's highly versatile platform is compatible with a wide range of drugs, enabling a transdermal route to market for drugs not currently suitable for formulation with existing delivery technologies.

"The company's first product, Ibuprofen TEPI Patch, will be manufactured at AdhexPharma in France for clinical trials in early 2018.

"Led by Dr Nicola Broughton, investment director and head of universities at Mercia, we have been working with the founders since inception, initially through our managed funds and are now scaling the business with a further direct investment.

"This has increased our equity holding in what potentially may become a very valuable business."