Adams earned a degree in pharmacy at Nottingham University, followed by a Ph.D. in pharmacology at Leeds University, the BBC reported. He joined the research department at Boots in 1952.
In 1961, workers at Boots settled on a product originally called 2-(4-isobutylphenyl) propionic acid, which later was called ibuprofen, the BBC reported.
A patent for ibuprofen was granted to Boots the following year, and it was approved as a prescription drug in 1969. The drug was approved as an over-the-counter product in 1983, the BBC reported.
University of Nottingham professor Kevin Shakesheff told the BBC that Adams' career was "inspiring."
"He is remembered for his successes in creating one of the most important painkillers in world but, as with many inspirational people, he had to bounce back from failures in earlier clinical trials before he and his team created ibuprofen," Shakesheff said.
"His life is a reminder to everyone in Nottingham that we can change the world through the work we do in our local companies, hospitals and universities."