Synthetic Viscosupplement for Treating Osteoarthritis

Period of Performance: 09/01/2008 - 02/28/2009

$175K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Flex Biomedical, Inc.
Madison, WI 53719
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Osteoarthritis is an incurable and chronic form of arthritis that is characterized by a breakdown of cartilage and synovial fluid in the joints. This debilitating disease currently affects 21 million people in the US costing billions of dollars. The goal of this project is to develop a novel, synthetic polymer to be used to supplement synovial fluid in the joints. Currently, hyaluronic acid or a hyaluronic acid-derivative is used. However, hyaluronic acid has been challenged as an effective therapy. First, no data has been shown/published on injected hyaluronic acid's ability to improve the lubricating properties of the synovial fluid in an osteoarthritic joint. In addition, current hyaluronic acid products only remain in the joint space for 1-2 days. Flex Biomedical, Inc. is developing a novel polymer that mimics the properties of healthy hyaluronic acid in vivo and will offer unique advantages over current viscosupplements such as improved lubrication and increased residence times. We propose to develop a new viscosupplement which possesses the following characteristics: " a high viscosity for an improved cushion effect " a low coefficient of friction for improved lubrication " a non-biodegradable backbone for increased joint residence time. Such a polymer could be used to relieve the pain and slow the progress of osteoarthritis. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Osteoarthritis is an incurable and chronic form of arthritis that affects 21 million people in the US costing billions of dollars. The goal of this project is to develop a novel, synthetic polymer which will be injected into osteoarthritic joints to supplement synovial fluid and relieve pain and slow the progression of the disease.