Often bladder dysfunction and diseases lead to therapeutic interventions that require partial or complete replacement of damaged tissue. For this reason, the development of biomaterials to repair the bladder by promoting the adhesion and growth of urothelial cells is of interest. With this aim, a modified copolyester of biocompatible and biodegradable poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) [P(HB-co-HV)] was used as scaffold for porcine urothelial cell culture. In addition to good biocompatibility, the surface of P(HB-co-HV) substrates was modified to provide both, higher hydrophilicity and a better interaction with urothelial cells. Chemical treatments with ethylenediamine (ED) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) led to substrate surfaces with decreasing hydrophobicity and provided functional groups that enable the grafting of bioactive molecules, such as a laminin derived YIGSR sequence. Physico-chemical properties of modified substrates were studied and compared with those of the pristine P(HB-co-HV). Urothelial cell morphology on treated substrates was studied. The results showed that focal attachment and cell-related properties were improved for peptide grafted polymer compared with both, the unmodified and functionalized copolyester. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A:, 2012.