Exploring the Efficacy of a Proteoglycan Mimic for Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis

Period of Performance: 09/01/2015 - 03/31/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Symic Biomedical, Inc.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a painful syndrome that is chronic in nature. While historic prevalence of IC is conservatively estimated to be 52-200/100,000 females [1], evaluations by Apostolidis and colleagues suggest that the condition affects greater than 2 % of females [2]. Significantly fewer males experience IC, with numbers ranging from 8-41/100,000 individuals [1]. Patients experiencing IC suffer significant morbidities [3]. Quality of life is significantly impacted;patients express difficulties maintaining a regular work schedule, experience challenges in relationships and are often depressed and even suicidal [3]. In the United States, estimates of medical costs for sick leave alone were $428 million in 1987. With respect to filed direct medical claims costs associated with IC as compared to those filed by patients without IC there was an increase of ~$4,200 per person per year in 2002 [3]. Thus, there is a direct medical, social and economic burden on society. This primarily female disease is of unknown etiology;however, there are well-defined pathological changes associated with the bladder wall. The primary function of the intact bladder is to serve as a short-term storage container for urine. The bladder wall must be impermeable to water and waste products while holding the urine to prevent re-adsorption into the blood stream. The lumen of the bladder wall is lined with epithelial cells. The cells form tight junctions with one another and secrete large quantities of polysaccharide on their luminal surface to prevent leakage of urine into the blood vessels within the wall of the bladder. Pathological changes observed in the epithelium of patients with IC include loss of tight junctions between umbrella cells, thinning of the polysaccharide coating, and loss of patches of epithelial cells that can lea to blood in the urine and ulcers in the bladder wall. Loss of bladder impermeability can lead to considerable back and suprapubic pain as solutes migrate into the surround tissue and lead to frequent, painful voiding [4, 5]. Symic Biomedical proposes the development of an improved barrier treatment. By developing therapies that target and bind to the bladder wall, Symic proposes to develop a biomimetic polysaccharide coating that serves as a barrier to solute diffusion into the bladder wall and remains bound for up to one week, thus greatly reducing treatment frequency.