Renerva, LLC, a medical device company developing innovative technologies for peripheral nerve repair, announced recently that it has received two additional grants totaling $500,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), rapidly accelerating development of their medical device products.
Renerva’s initial therapeutic focus is on the 500,000 Americans suffering from acute nerve injuries every year, with other indications including the treatment of chronic compressive nerve injuries and other conditions affecting the peripheral nerves. Renerva’s pioneering technology was developed in the laboratory of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Bryan Brown, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering with secondary appointments in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Brown is the Chief Technology Officer at Renerva.
The NIH support will enable the company to expand the applications of its first product, Renerva Peripheral Nerve Matrix (PNM) – an injectable gel derived from porcine tissue that promotes and supports repair and regeneration in injured peripheral nerves. The NSF funding will support the development of Renerva’s second product, a novel graft for peripheral nerve gap applications (a $2 billion market today).
Renerva’s second product will offer surgeons the potential of an off-the-shelf graft with performance equivalent to or better than that of the gold standard nerve autograft. Renerva’s graft will spare patients the discomfort, loss of function, and potential complications associated with nerve autografts, while facilitating the return of motor and/or sensory function in patients affected by complex and debilitating nerve injuries.
Alexander Spiess, MD, Renerva’s Medical Advisory Board Member and Division Chief of Hand Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC), Department of Plastic Surgery, said: “This novel graft has the potential to become the new standard of care for patients requiring nerve bridges for long gap nerve injuries, nerve transfers, and muscle reinnervations. It has also the potential to open the door to new solutions in nerve surgical care.”
Jonathan Cheetham, PhD, VetMB, Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences at Cornell University, Chair of Renerva’s Scientific Advisory Board, and an affiliated faculty member of the McGowan Institute, said: “The NIH award will allow to test Renerva PNM in yet another application. Recurrent laryngeal nerve injury is a condition that results in vocal fold paralysis in up to 10% of patients receiving thyroid surgery. By implementing PNM in the repair of this type of injury, we will help demonstrate the broader scope of capabilities and applications of Renerva’s first product.” Through this testing, and with the support of the NIH award, Renerva’s technologies will expand their potential treatment applicability to ear, nose, and throat disorders.
“In addition to our dilutive capital, Renerva has now received $3 million in active, non-dilutive funding from three U.S. federal agencies (i.e., DoD, NSF, and NIH). This support reflects the comprehensive peer-reviewed vetting for our technology and team by the main government agencies supporting medical technology development, the rigor of the underlying science, and the significant unmet need for our growing product portfolio,” said Lorenzo Soletti, PhD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Renerva. “As Renerva transitions into a clinical stage company with our PNM product moving into first-in-human clinical trials next year, this support will help expand our core technology into other nerve injury applications and position us for Series A financing.”