Nerve-repair startup Renerva said today it has received $2.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Pittsburgh company is developing a periheral nerve matrix (PNM), an injectable gel derived from porcine tissue to help repair and regenerate injured peripheral nerves. The Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) Award award will enable Renerva to complete its preclinical program and begin human clinical trials.
PNM has the potential to play a significant role in accelerating and improving structural and functional recovery following different modalities of nerve injury, according to Renerva chief technology officer Bryan Brown, M.D., also an assistant professor of bioengineering who works at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
“Remarkably, based on the impact shown in several animal studies, PNM has the potential to return functionality to patients that are left otherwise disabled from different types of nerve injury,” Brown said in a company statement.
Renerva’s PNM technology is based on four years of research in Brown’s laboratory and the laboratory of Jonathan Cheetham, an equine surgeon and associate professor of clinical sciences at Cornell University who chairs Renerva’s scientific advisory board. PNM is protected by five patents licensed from the University of Pittsburgh and Cornell.
Twenty million patients suffer from peripheral nerve injuries in the U.S. alone, noted Renerva CEO Lorenzo Soletti.
“A peripheral nerve surgeon enthusiastically called PNM the ‘Neosporin of Nerve Repair,’ hinting at its broad potential and widespread adoption,” Soletti said in the statement. “Our commercial rollout will first focus on PNM as an adjunct treatment for existing surgical procedures to repair or release traumatically or chronically injured peripheral nerves. That market will then be expanded to treat patients affected by nerve injury through ultrasound or image-guided delivery of PNM to the affected nerves.”