An Aussie biotech company could become the first to get an ibuprofen patch to market, after it revealed it was working with a major drug company in the US.

Researchers at the University of Warwick made headlines around the world when they claimed to have made the world’s first ibuprofen patch in 2015.

However they could be pipped at the post by OBJ Limited (ASX:OBJ), which specialises in drug delivery systems and is now working on a similar product.

The UK university’s commercial partner, Medherent, still hasn’t got its product to market and as far as Stockhead can tell, is only just preparing for clinical trials now.

That could put OBJ in the lead when it comes to actually having something on the shelf.

OBJ boss Jeff Edwards said his company’s patch had already cleared several hurdles.

“The OBJ patch technology has completed two clinical studies with the third commencing this week, however the time to market will largely depend on our distribution partner’s needs,” he told Stockhead.

The only thing Mr Edwards wouldn’t say was who that distribution partner was.

In an announcement to the market on Tuesday, OBJ described the partner only as “a major US pharmaceutical manufacturer”.

Ibuprofen is the active ingredient in popular anti-inflammatory painkillers Nurofen and Herron Blue.

Mr Edwards said ibuprofen tablets were under scrutiny from medical regulators due to the high prevalence of gastrointestinal side effects — which a patch could circumvent.

“Transdermal delivery offers a way of getting ibuprofen to the site of injury without having to pass through the gut first. This by-passes the adverse effects and results in a safer product,” he said.

OBJ specialises in drug delivery and skincare using magnetised ingredients. Its “Magnetic Infuser” technology was recently used by Olay to launch a range of “Magnemask” products in China.

Some of Olay’s Magnemask products. Picture: OBJ
Some of Olay’s Magnemask products. Picture: OBJ

OBJ’s shares closed Tuesday unchanged at 4.5c. They’ve traded between 4c and 9c over the past 12 months.