Taking the piss.

I have an investment in a little cashbox that raises finance to invest in biotechnology companies. It’s had a couple of successes (e.g. C3 and Starpharma) and I’m hopeful that some of it’s current investments will pay off in the future. I received an email alerting me to a new investment it has just made: Biotech Capital completes tenth investment taking 23% stake in Continence Control Systems:

The Board of BioTech Capital Ltd (ASX:BTC) is pleased to announce that it has finalised an investment of $2,000,000 into Continence Control Systems International Pty Ltd. An additional $1,000,000 was provided by other co-investors. CCS is a company formed to commercialise a new treatment for severe urinary incontinence, the involuntary loss of urine from the bladder.

The new treatment builds on intellectual property from the University of Melbourne and customised implantable stimulation technology, developed by Cochlear Ltd, the world leader in cochlear implants. ” new form of treatment may revolutionise the management of severe urinary incontinence, providing hope for potentially millions of patients around the world where other surgical treatments have failed” said Mr Tony Stephens, the CEO of CCS. CCS’ treatment uses Cochlear’ stimulation technology to control a muscle obtained from the same patient, allowing the patient to hold or release urine from the bladder when desired. The market size is conservatively estimated in excess of A$1 billion of new cases each year. CCS has already completed a series of laboratory experiments confirming the technology has the potential to work in humans.

Just how they are going to combine the Cochlear technology (bionic implants that stimulate hearing) with control of the muscular sphincter I’m not sure. There was some mention of a button, but I think a remote control would be a better idea, especially in the nursing home where the night nurse could simply ‘tighten up’ all the bladder muscles with her admonition to ‘sleep tight’.

Now I’ve always thought that incontinence was a mildly inconvenient problem experienced by grandma in the nursing home. But it appears that the ‘minor’ problem costs hundreds of millions,

from the WHA prevalence data, using Australian Bureau of Statistics population figures, to deduce the total number of incontinent women in this country. They then used estimates from the second study to calculate the personal costs for all affected women, and added the treatment costs of those who sought help, to derive an annual cost for incontinence of $387 per incontinent woman, or $710 million (in 1998 prices). As the authors indicate, these figures do not include indirect or intangible costs.

not to mention the

distressing and debilitating condition which will become more prevalent as our population ages. The personal suffering of those who find urine running down their legs is difficult to measure, but we know that quality of life is severely impaired. It is disturbing that only about a third of those affected actually seek medical help, because of lack of knowledge (on the part of the patient or the provider) about available treatments, as well as patients’ embarrassment about revealing their “lack of control”.For patients with urinary incontinence, the cost of buying pads and other appliances is a major burden. Indeed, some women are forced to reuse their commercial pads by opening them and restuffing them with toilet paper, or to dry their urine-soaked disposable pads on a heater for later use to reduce costs.”

Apparently incontinence is not restricted to women, prostate cancer surgery is responsible for making many men seek relief from a leaky bladder. So bring it on, making money and stopping the embarrasment of urine-soaked clothes in one hit. Ain’t science wonderful.

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David Tiley
2024 years ago

Note also this is the kind of non-sexy practical medicine which makes all the difference and is not drug based. And the quality of life implications are enormous.

Yet another future horror I am afraid of.

James Dudek
James Dudek
2024 years ago

Competition from Advanced Bionics (recently acquired by Boston Scientific):