URAH is a Singapore-based Life Science Research Company specializing in the development of technologies delivering active molecules through the skin barriers to biological targets. URAH offers Micellar Glucosamine creams that provide pain relief for healthier joints, bones, sporting as well as for intensive body care. URAH Singapore is the winner of NTUC Unity Popular Choice Brand Award 2014 in Topical Analgesic (Glucosamine).
I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Jonathan Obaje, the founding scientist of URAH who developed the transdermal technology. Here is an excerpt of the interview he did with Biotechin.Asia, where he speaks about URAH and the science behind their glucosamine cream.
The company URAH Transdermal Ltd was founded in 2009 but the product was in the market much earlier. Dr. Jonathan Obaje, the founding scientist, was initially a research scientist at Lynk Biotechnologies Pte Ltd where the first generation formula (Medilynk & Biolyn TGC) was created in 2003. He was then able to get URAH patented, releasing the advanced URAH Micellar Glucosamine formula into the global market by 2006.
The URAH Transdermal Ltd was incorporated to focus on the Research and Development of the Transdermal technology as well as for the manufacturing of URAH Transdermal products. The people who played a vital role in making URAH a reality includes the research director Dr. Jonathan Obaje, the chairman Mr. Inderjit Singh- a prominent Singapore Technology entrepreneur, the Assistant Director of RND Dr. Dimitri Besarrab, the Research Collaborating Partner Assistant Professor Xu Chenjie from NTU and the Clinical advisor for URAH Dr. Sunny Abbah, an orthopedic surgeon and researcher.
Dr. Jonathan Obaje is the founder and inventor of most of the technologies at URAH such as the Proprietary Obalin®Transdermal drug delivery System (TGC) and the Biosurfactant process technology. He was a founding consultant, Scientist & Technology Licensor to Lynk Biotechnologies. Dr. Obaje is a Chartered Scientist, Chartered Chemist, MRSC, UK.
He is a passionate scientist who believes steadfastly in the value and the helpfulness of URAH’s products. He became interested in the glucosamine biological molecule from his research years. He realized that glucosamine is a powerful compound that is able to protect soft tissues in the body, however, it was hard for the body to efficiently absorb glucosamine from external sources. He was intrigued by this problem and strived to find a way to solve it thus coming up with the Transdermal Delivery System to increase the body’s uptake of glucosamine.
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring biological molecule in the body that is used to make glucosaminoglycans-the principle lubricating protein in cartilage, ligaments, tendons and others. If the body is not able to produce enough glucosamine due to old age or some health conditions, it would lead to health problems like joints and bone pain, osteoporosis or even arthritis.
The most common way of replenishing this glucosamine deficiency is through oral intake of glucosamine supplements. However, since glucosamine is essentially a carbohydrate it begins breaking down from the mouth itself. Thus, the uptake of the glucosamine molecule in its entirety is affected as much of the glucosamine is broken down to glucose. One of the warnings on glucosamine supplements, is for diabetes patients to be careful of a higher blood sugar level. In addition, glucosamine supplements are usually in the form of acidic salts like Glucosamine sulfate or Glucosamine hydrochloride which could lead to a higher gastric acidity. Glucosamine can also be injected directly into the bone cartilage but this is an invasive process for many.
Transdermal Delivery System
This leads us to the other way of replenishing the glucosamine deficiency, which is through our skin. URAH has developed its own patented transdermal delivery system technology. This technology involves glucosamine molecules encapsulated within micelles mimicking the properties of skin cells. These micelles thus permeate through the skin barrier delivering the encapsulated glucosamine molecules to the blood circulatory system. URAH promises a greater percentage of uptake of glucosamine leading to the users feeling the pain relieving effects of the cream within a few minutes of application.
There are a number of glucosamine creams available in the market; however a quality testing done by A*STAR with Dr. Jonathan Obaje revealed that many of these products were not able to deliver a viable percentage of glucosamine to the blood circulation. In many cases, most of the glucosamine molecules were deposited onto the skin which is then rubbed off.
During the interview, he emphasized that URAH’s glucosamine cream “ensures total permeation of the glucosamine molecules leaving no residue on the skin.” The higher skin permeation abilities of URAH are also shown through experiments done on mice as shown in the graph.
Challenges faced by URAH
According to Dr. Jonathan Obaje, the biggest challenge URAH has is in developing its customer base. As a life science technology start-up, a lot of the resources and efforts are allocated to the advancement of the product itself rather than in marketing it. Consumers are more easily swayed by advertisements rather than research papers.
Currently, URAH has been increasing its credibility as a viable product through clinical presentation to doctors, who then recommend and prescribe URAH Micellar glucosamine cream to their patients. Their products can also be found in many pharmacies like Guardian, Unity and Watson, and in many SingHealth and National Health Group hospitals and pharmacists in Singapore.
What Next for URAH?
URAH will continue to focus on improving and developing more products using their Transdermal Delivery System. It is also currently looking to expand globally and increase its consumer base. In the founding scientist Dr. Jonathan Obaje’s own words, he wants “URAH to become a household name for pain relief for the Joints, Muscles and Bones, same as how Panadol is for headaches”
This article was written based on an interview with Dr. Jonathan Obaje and material provided by URAH