Pipeline / Osteoarthritis

Healthy knee
Osteoarthritic knee with an effusion

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic, inflammatory disease typically of a focal joint, different from rheumatoid arthritis which is systemic and auto-immune. OA of the knee effects approximately 9 million individuals in the U.S.[1] There are multiple etiologies that can lead to OA, such as joint injury or joint malalignment. Knee OA, the most common type of OA, manifests in symptoms such as pain and stiffness in the joint, but also manifests in structural degradation of the joint. Over time, this chronic degradation can lead to a knee replacement, for which the US spends $28 billion annually. The currently available therapies for OA are only palliative, affecting only the symptoms of pain and stiffness. There are no therapies that treat the chronic joint degradation of osteoarthritis, otherwise known as a DMOAD (disease-modifying OA drug), that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Symic Bio is targeting a specific segment of OA patients who have increased inflammation in the joint. In these patients, active inflammation is leading to synovitis, triggering edematous fluid build-up in the joint known as an effusion (sometimes referred to as a “wet knee”). By targeting this specific patient population, Symic Bio is selecting a phenotypically similar patient profile. This advanced clinical development strategy helps address the issue of multiple etiologies. The results from two clinical studies conducted by Symic Bio have been consistent with the idea that patients with effusions respond better to SB-061 relative to control-arm saline injections. Given that patients with effusions represent 50 percent or more of the OA knee population, this represents a large unmet need.[2]

SB-061 from Symic Bio

SB-061, a therapeutic bioconjugate molecule inspired by the properties of aggrecan, is a drug delivered directly to the joint via intra-articular injection. SB-061 directly targets and inhibits the degrading extracellular matrix within the joint cavity, halting the matrix-induced inflammatory cycle that drives the signs and symptoms of progressive osteoarthritis. The goal of this approach is to both modify the course of disease by reducing joint degradation and to decrease symptoms due to inflammation. SB-061 is in clinical development for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee with effusions.

1. Murphy L., and Helmick, C.G. American Journal of Nursing. 2012 March;112(3 Suppl 1):S13-9
2. Maricar, N. et al., Seminars in Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2016 April;45(5):556-63.