Synartro is a Swedish research and development company that develops improved treatments using patented delivery technology combined with existing proven drugs. The preclinical lead program, SYN321, is based on a novel therapy combining diclofenac covalently bound to hyaluronan for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), a disease that today leaves up to 50% of patients without adequate pain relief. The company’s initial focus is in knee OA with the potential of further expansion.
Bengt Lindqvist, part of the team behind the hyaluronic acid substance Healon from Pharmacia, invented the now-called SYN321. Together with a team of experts in synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry, research and development of the SYN321 commenced. In 2013, an animal study in horses has demonstrated that SYN321 is safe without observed side effects.
Synartro has an ongoing collaboration with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU.
Technology & Portfolio
Drug delivery platform
Synartro develops improved treatments using a patent-pending drug delivery technology that enables a sustained drug release. Combined with proven drugs, Synartro offers novel uses of existing drugs for human and potentially veterinary applications.
Lead program, SYN321
Drug candidate SYN321 is an intraarticular injection, containing diclofenac and hyaluronan, in development for the treatment of knee OA. It is the unique binding between diclofenac and hyaluronan that enable therapeutic benefits of SYN321 such as reduced side effects, prolonged pain relief as well as reduction of inflammation and pain. Compared with other treatments, considerably less SYN321 substance is needed for desired efficacy. SYN321 also has disease-modifying potential, which could slow down or, in best case, stop the disease progression entirely.
SYN321 has the potential to become the preferred second-line treatment for knee OA.
SYN321 is in preclinical stage and has completed a study in horses at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU. The results from the study indicated very good tolerability and favorable pharmacokinetics. The next step will be to further investigate the manufacturing and toxicity of SYN321 to advance the drug candidate’s regulatory program towards clinical trials.
Synartro has filed a compound patent, currently pending, for the unique binding of hyaluronan and pharmaceutical active substances. It is the company’s current assessment that this patent provides the strong protection needed to get ahead of the generics market.
About knee OA
OA is a chronic, slowly progressive, joint disease caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage, which leads to reduced motion and pain. OA is generally diagnosed in people over 40 years of age and mainly affects the knees, hip and hands. Women have a higher risk of becoming affected by OA, as well as individuals with physically stressful jobs or those affected by obesity.
Roughly 24 million patients are, today, estimated to be treated with a drug treatment for knee OA. An early diagnosis generally yields best treatment outcomes. There are four disease stages: doubtful, mild, moderate and severe. About 46% of patients have a mild to moderate disease, while the other half (55%) have moderate to severe knee OA.
At diagnosis, knee OA is commonly treated with physiotherapy and exercise where it is key to focus on pain relief and reducing inflammation. There is an unmet clinical need for novel drugs that can inhibit or slow down the disease progression without increasing the side effects. Based on the current standards, the novel combination of SYN321 with demonstrated favorable safety profile in preclinical trials is well-positioned as a second-line treatment for OA.
Current treatment steps
At early diagnosis of mild knee OA, the patient receives either glucosamine sulfate and/or chondroitin sulfate or paracetamol (rescue analgesic). If symptoms remain, topical NSAIDs and regular exercise is prescribed.
Step 2 – novel SYN321 therapy
As a second-line treatment intermittent or continuous oral NSAIDs (non-selective, COX-2 selective, naproxen, etc.) is given as symptom reliever. If additional treatment is needed, the patient can receive either intraarticular hyaluronate such as SYN321 or intraarticular corticosteroids.
For the moderate progression stage of knee OA, the symptoms and pain from the breakdown of joint cartilage can be relieved with weak and short-term opioids or alternatively Duloxetine.
Once the disease has reached the point of completely broken down joint cartilage, none of the previous treatment steps can reduce the symptoms. The final treatment option for severe OA is joint replacement surgery.
There is currently a major demand for OA treatments with improved safety and efficacy profiles within the medical community as well as a strong desire to avoid surgery and opioids. The increasing interest in intraarticular combinations offering these benefits is making the SYN321 a great candidate for future treatments.
SYN321 has shown beneficial properties with favorable side effect profile and fast and long-term pain relief in animal studies. The novel combination therapy of SYN321 can possibly provide patients the ability to live an active life again. A patent has been filed for the unique binding between diclofenac and hyaluronan in SYN321, which offer several competitive advantages such as a better side-effect profile compared to competing injectables, oral diclofenac and other NSAIDs.
There is a clear trend towards more combination treatments instead of the use of one-substance products, which cannot treat all aspects of a disease. The market share for hyaluronic acid treatments has also recently grown, which together with an increasingly overweight population, the aging society and an increasing population, is promising for the future of SYN321.
The annual market opportunity for SYN321 is estimated between $324M – $700M looking solely at the seven major markets: The France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, UK, and the US. Synartro’s current focus is on Europe and the US. The market is expected to grow with a need for better treatments.
Board of Directors
PhD & Chairman
Fredrik has held several positions at Pharmacia, Biovitrum and Personal Chemistry. He is also founder of six chemistry or life science related companies, where OT Chemistry was acquired by Recipharm in June 2015. Expert in CMC.
PhD & CSO
Bengt has worked at Pharmacia, Kabi-Pharmacia, Pharmacia-Upjohn, Pfizer and Biovitrum. He has experience of chemical modifications of hyaluronan and other polysaccharides. He has also been involved in medicinal chemistry projects and has acted as a manager and project leader in various research groups and departments.
Tobias is a trusted partner for many executives within biotech, pharma and medical devices in the Nordic region. His expertise spans acquisitions, licensing deals, business strategy, IPOs, financing/investments, opportunity scouting, company re-organization and negotiation. He is the co-founder and CEO of the management consultancy firm Monocl Strategy & Communication. Tobias has also co-founded Monocl, a leading cloud-based stakeholder platform, and has been part of building up the news and analytics company, BioStock.
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Synartro is a Swedish research and development company that develops improved treatments using patented delivery technology combined with existing proven drugs. The initial focus area is knee OA, a disease with significant demand for treatments with improved efficacy and safety profiles for the growing patient population.
The company plans to develop its lead program through the final concluding preclinical studies and into clinical phase, where the aim is to move forward with a resource-rich pharmaceutical company with established channels for further development and commercialization.
The company is currently in a transition phase seeking investments to enable continued development of its promising lead program SYN321.
For further information, please do get in touch with Monika Vedin, CEO.
Synartro genomför fulltecknad nyemission inför artrosstudie
5 maj 2020 – Synartro, ett svenskt bioteknikföretag fokuserat på utveckling av en patentsökt teknologiplattform för att förbättra effekt och säkerhet av beprövade substanser, med målsättning att kunna erbjuda artrospatienter en lokal och säker behandling som alternativ till behandling med opioider, injicerad hyaluronsyra samt orala NSAID-preparat, meddelade idag att bolaget genomfört en fulltecknad nyemission.
Synartro har genomfört en nyemission tillsammans med life science investerarnätverket Sciety. Kapitalet syftar till att färdigställa tillverkningen av SYN321 hos bolagets tillverkningspartner Recipharm för att inleda en artrosstudie tillsammans med ett externt, oberoende kontraktslabb i en industrivaliderad sjukdomsmodell. Studien besvarar en rad viktiga utvecklingsfrågor och underleverantören har kontrakterats efter en systematisk utvärdering av olika artrosmodeller.
Mia Brundin announced as new CEO of Synartro
20 April 2020 – Mia Brundin has over 20 years of leadership experience from international business development and commercial roles at companies such as AstraZeneca, Recip and Meda. Today, Mia is the Country Manager Sweden for Mylan, one of the largest global healthcare companies. Mia holds a Master of Science in Business Administration and Economics, International Business Program, from Linköping University.
“It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that the Board today announces that Mia Brundin has accepted the role as CEO of Synartro,” says Fredrik Lehmann, Synartro Chairman of the Board. “Mia has led several successful development projects as well as international launches and, with her impressive track record and broad experience in international commercialization and leadership, we look forward to continuing the development of our lead program SYN321 as well as exploring further opportunities for Synartro.”
Mia Brundin will start her new leadership position as the CEO of Synartro on August 1, 2020. Until that time, Monika Vedin, current CEO, will remain in her position.