Monday, 7 April 2014:  There is new hope for more than three million osteoarthritis and joint pain sufferers in South Africa. Osteoarthritis is the world’s most prevalent joint disease. This new hope is due to a scientific breakthrough which, by means of innovative nano technology, enables damaged joints to be adequately lubricated giving pain relief and restoring joint mobility. 

The effects of pioneering joint pain treatment Flexiseq gel were measured in six multicentre controlled clinical trials involving over 4,000 patients published in international peer review journals. In all trials, patients experienced reduced pain and improved joint mobility.  In one large trial, Flexiseq was shown to be as effective as celecoxib, a billion dollar best-selling osteoarthritis drug.

Flexiseq was awarded the Innovation Award 2013 by the Federal Association of German Pharmacists for Flexiseq’s breakthrough approach to treatment of osteoarthritis enabled by the science of Sequessome Technology.

The gel is applied twice daily and delivers noticeable pain relief within a few days.

Flexiseq’s proven efficacy comes with significant advantages over existing drug treatments, as the product has no contra-indications, contains no drugs so cannot cause drug-to-drug interactions and with over 7 million doses administered since launch there have been no reported systemic side effects. Current drug treatments can cause serious side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

Dr Liam O’Toole, CEO of Arthritis Research UK (ARUK) says: “Osteoarthritis is a painful and extremely debilitating condition. Current approaches to treating this chronic pain are inadequate, and we are interested in the potential of this new drug-free approach.” ARUK raises close to R680 million annually to fund research into finding the cause, new treatment and cure for all forms of arthritis.

Says Dr Jon Patricios, president of the South African Sports Medicine Association and director of Morningside Sports Medicine: “This is a most interesting new approach to treating joint pain.  The physical mode of action and the lack of an active pharmaceutical ingredient make it safe and the clinical trials show efficacy.  Flexiseq will be a useful treatment which can be used in conjunction with drugs or to help those patients who do not tolerate drug treatment or who are at risk of side effects.  I have a number of patients currently trialling the product who have responded well which is most promising.” 

Ken Ralston, managing director of Sky Med, comments: “We are pleased to bring the world’s first clinically proven nano-physical product for pain relief to South Africa. Simply, Flexiseq’s nano-vesicles travel through the skin, accumulate on the damaged cartilage effectively lubricating the joints. The large scientific clinical trials have proven this drug-free treatment effective in relieving pain and safe.”

Commenting on Flexiseq, Neil Mackenzie, 38, respected local cricketer, ex-Protea currently playing for Highveld Lions, says,   “Like many professional sportsmen, my sporting career has taken its toll on my body, in particular my one knee. I am keen to extend my career for another two years so need to manage bouts of joint pain. I was one of the first people in the country to trial Flexiseq and within a few days noticed a significant reduction in pain in my knee.”

Karl van Heerden, 70, a lifelong sportsman who works out seven days a week playing squash, golf, does Bikram yoga, goes to gym and has also just completed his 15th Argus, was also impressed with Flexiseq. “My body has taken a pounding due to my sporting pursuits which have been particularly rough on my knees. I was told by my doctor to have knee replacement surgery which I am strongly opposed to. Flexiseq is really working for me to keep my knees ‘well-greased’. There’s a noticeable reduction in creaking and I’m very grateful to be able to continue with my daily work outs.”

In South Africa, Flexiseq is available without prescription from Dischem, independent pharmacies as well as via the Arthritis Foundation’s website.

Flexiseq originates from German research and is available in Germany, Ireland, Austria, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK.


For further information, interviews, case studies or photographs, please contact Michelle K Blumenau, Turquoise PR & Marketing Communications T 011 728 5004 / 083 273 9891 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Available to comment and for interviews:

  • The CEO of the Arthritis Foundation of South Africa, Mike Boddy
  • Ken Ralston, managing director, Sky Med, distributor of Flexiseq in South Africa
  • Dr Jon Patricios, president of the South African Sports Medicine Association and head of the Centre for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics
  • Neil Mackenzie, 38, professional cricketer
  • Karl van Heerden, 70, sportsman
  • Other case studies are becoming available as more people trial the product in South Africa
  • If you have someone at your media organisation with osteoarthritis or joint pain that would like to trial Flexiseq, please request this.

Notes for editors:  

Sequessome Technology®
Flexiseq employs Pro Bono Bio's patented Sequessome Technology rather than an active pharmaceutical ingredient to target a root cause of the disease, relieving pain with comparable efficacy to celecoxib, a leading prescription drug used for treating osteoarthritis pain. Sequessome Technology utilises nanostructures called Sequessome™ vesicles that cross the skin barrier after the gel's topical application and migrate through various tissues to the target joint. Once inside the joint, Sequessome vesicles accumulate on the damaged cartilage forming a lubricating layer.

One of the features of OA is a depletion in the level of phospholipids in the joint, normally found in the liquid around the cartilage. These phospholipids play an important role in lubricating the joint and, as a consequence, their deficiency contributes to the pain, stiffness and loss of function inherent in osteoarthritis. Flexiseq targets this root cause of osteoarthritis pain.

This targeted, physical mode of action crucially means there are no drug-to-drug interactions with Flexiseq as it is not itself a drug.

About Pro Bono Bio
Pro Bono Bio is an innovative healthcare and nano medical device company launched in 2011 Pro Bono Bio launched Flexiseq and plans to launch two further new products for the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. These new products, ROSSOSEQ® and EXOSEQ™, are based on Sequessome Technology, the same technology that powers Flexiseq. Pro Bono Bio has ambitious growth targets that will allow it to support its unique humanitarian mission.

Arthritis Research UK
Arthritis Research UK is dedicated to leading the fight against arthritis and committed to being at the forefront of international efforts to develop new treatments. It is one of the largest funders of arthritis research in the world.

Arthritis Foundation South Africa
Aims to achieve a better life for all those affected with arthritis by increasing awareness, providing education and offering support.