Renovos wins Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst funding!

Injectable Renovite gel for localised tissue regeneration

Renovos has been awarded a £692,472 Biomedical Catalyst grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency*. Innovate UK funds businesses to accelerate promising innovations towards commercially successful products, in specific areas of interest that promote economic growth.

Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to disability worldwide, with the most common and disabling conditions such as arthritis, back and neck pain, fractures and injuries. Current bone healing agents are poorly localised and rely on very high doses which have been associated with some dangerous side effects such as excess bone growth outside of the skeleton, inflammation leading to tissue swelling and sometimes nerve damage when used in the spine.

Renovos provides a novel solution that can address the current limitations of localising bone agents/biologic factors at the site of repair, improving their safety and efficacy. RENOVITE® is injectable and enables the use of bone-healing agents in a more precise, localised manner, and – thanks to strong retention – at a significantly reduced dose. Renovos’ compelling pre-clinical data shows that these agents are only released upon contact with regenerating cells, so they can enhance healing in a more targeted manner to improve outcomes with greater safety, efficacy and at a lower cost. The project “RENOVITE® – regenerative nanoclay for orthobiologic applications” will deliver further pre-clinical development in models aligned with clinical applications and accelerate the regulatory path.

Agnieszka Janeczek, CEO of Renovos Biologics said: “We are thrilled that our RENOVITE® nanoclay gel technology has once again been recognised by the Innovate UK experts. As pioneers of nanoclay gels for tissue regeneration, we are excited about this funding and the progress in development it will allow us to achieve to get closer to the clinic.”

Renovos ultimately anticipates its products based on the RENOVITE® platform will provide novel solutions for bone fusion procedures and difficult to treat fractures, benefiting the increasingly active younger demographics, requiring tissue regeneration, as well as the progressively ageing population.

If you are interested in supporting Renovos’ vision, please get in touch. 


* Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth. We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. For more information visit

How Renovite nanoclays open up new opportunities in regenerative medicine

nanoclay injected into spine

For anyone pioneering a new technology in regenerative medicine, it’s not long before you are asked what it is that sets your tech apart from the rapidly growing number of other competing technologies out there. It’s an important question because, like many areas of exciting opportunity, the research field of regenerative medicine has experienced explosive growth over the last couple of decades.

I think it is important to understand, however, what has driven this growth. Technological growth sometimes happens because new enabling innovations have come about which mean solutions that were, before, technically very challenging or even impossible, have suddenly become much more possible. Think of the tantalising medical possibilities of AI or CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, for example. In this case an explosion of innovation occurs because something that was previously very hard has become (or, at least, appears to have become) considerably easier and more accessible.

Other times, almost the mirror image applies. Innovation happens because a compelling opportunity we originally thought to be within reach, turns out to be rather more elusive than we first imagined. In this situation, while the power of the idea continues to attract innovators and entrepreneurs, new technologies arise because earlier efforts at realising the potential opportunity fall short.

The innovative drive around regenerative medicine and biologics would seem to fall into this second category. The simple concept at the heart of regenerative medicine – that by activating the potential of stem cells we can regenerate diseased and damaged tissues – may have proven to be harder than we first thought, but the idea lives on and continues to inspire new concepts and technologies.

Renovite nanoclay provides, we believe, an elegantly simple and low-cost enabling technology with real potential to unlock the long-awaited promise of regenerative medicine.

The fundamental challenge facing regenerative medicine has always been the need to bridge the gap between the biological context of the stem cell and the clinical context of adult health care. As increasingly elaborate technologies have been developed to address the demands of biological complexity, the associated increase in cost, regulatory hurdles and technicality has meant that the gap between the stem cell and the clinic has seemed to grow rather than shrink as science has progressed.

Renovite nanoclay has unique potential to bridge this impasse in ways that other technologies have not been able to. The following features stand out:

  • Renovite is synthetic – The mineral formulation of Renovite allows for low-cost manufacture and sterile processing.
  • Renovite is biocompatible – Renovite gels can be degraded by cells and processed by the body.
  • Renovite is versatile – Renovite can be delivered as a gel, applied as a coating, complexed with polymers as a nanocomposite or combined with graft material as a carrier.
  • Renovite is injectable – Renovite spontaneously sets into a stiff gel by complexing with proteins in the blood allowing for minimally invasive outpatient interventions,
  • Renovite is bioactiveRenovite’ s unique gelation properties also serve the complex demands of biology by stabilising a protein-rich environment proven to foster cell invasion and remodelling.
  • Renovite enhances biologicsRenovite’s ability to bind biological molecules allows for dramatic enhancements in efficacy and safety profiles and opens up new applications for delivery of growth factors, drugs and antimicrobials.


nanoclay injection

Renovite nanoclay has the potential to make the complex simple and drive new innovations in regenerative medicine. Since pioneering nanoclay gels over a decade ago with our first publication on “Clay gels for the delivery of regenerative microenvironments”, there has been significant growth in the use of nanoclays in biomaterial design. In a 2013 progress report on the opportunities nanoclays present we uncovered only a small handful of studies exploring the use of clay in this context. This review has now itself been cited over 200 times as more research groups have begun working on nanoclay all over the world.

Renovite represents the first clinical grade nanoclay manufactured for biomedical application. These are exciting times for Renovos. By bringing nanoclay to the clinic we hope to see renewed growth in the regenerative medicine sector as new, previously unrealised, opportunities for harnessing the potential of stem cells in healthcare begin to open up.

If you are interested in supporting our vision, please get in touch. 


By Jonathan Dawson

Nanoclays and regenerative medicine: a journey towards the clinic

Renovite cells

What role could clay play in the biomedical field and why is Renovos Biologics focussing on this industrial-type material for cutting edge regenerative medicine technologies? It is an interesting question, after all, clays are mainly used for making things like paint or cosmetic formulations. And those applications seem far removed from the highly regulated world of medical products and devices.

Before shedding light on the surprising promise of nanoclay, let me tell you a bit of my background and my involvement in Renovos.

I am a materials scientist. I always envisioned myself diving into those fundamental questions that only research can approach. That vision for exploration and inquiry later evolved into the application of new biomedical materials to improve quality of life. As a basic materials scientist with an interest in biomedicine, I could not help but wonder how to get the best of both worlds.

And that is why I became involved with Renovos, where bringing my experience with cells and novel biomaterials to target tissue regeneration would have a translational value and make a difference to people’s lives.

At Renovos, we are developing a product portfolio based on a synthetic nanoclay gel platform, Renovite®. Renovite® gels can localise and retain biologics at ultra-low doses to promote tissue regeneration. We discovered that the physicochemical properties of nanoclays are extremely well-suited and sought for in biomaterials (you can learn more about it from our previous post by Allison and our technology site). Nanoclay particles spontaneously form a gel in the body that binds biological molecules and provides a scaffolding for cell growth. These exciting properties open up a wide range of regenerative medicine applications encompassing drug-delivery, stem-cell therapy, wound repair and infection control!

Renovite diagram

Let me explain the example of bone growth and repair. Now here come a couple of questions that I had before working with nanoclays:

1) Why is nanoclay a good candidate for tissue regeneration?

2) How does nanoclay offer an advantage when combined with biological molecules?

To answer the first question, the high affinity of nanoclay particles for proteins is key. When injected into the body, nanoclay particles form a gel network that binds proteins from the blood – a bit like in a blood clot. This protein-rich nanoclay network provides a matrix for cells to grow into and remodel into new tissue. Because Renovite® nanoclay is biocompatible, specialised cells can safely degrade the gel over time as new tissue forms.

This links quite well with the second question. Again, the advantage lies in the ability for nanoclays to bind proteins. Besides, the gels retain the biologics until they have degraded. Therefore, Renovite® nanoclay gels are able to safely localise potent biological molecules that stimulate bone formation. This reduces the side-effects of these molecules outside the gel whilst simultaneously enhancing their activity within the gel, allowing for ultra-low doses. It all implies that we can use Renovite® nanoclay gels in combination with these biologics to safely and reliably repair bone.

This is where my job comes in. I verify that our products are safe and effective by validating this technology in various assays and models. Have a look at Renovite® loaded with a biomolecule and ready for addition to cells in culture!

Renovite cells

Ultimately, we want to reach those who may benefit the most. For instance, patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions or microbial infections in orthopaedics impairing tissue repair.

Although the journey to the clinic is not an easy ride, it is certainly an exciting one! And anything that serves to improve the treatment of health conditions sounds worthwhile to me!

Juan at Renovos

By Juan Aviles Milan

Chemistry? Clays? Isn’t this a biologics company?

lab in sunlight

I’m a chemist working on clay for a biologics company.

That may well sound like a juxtaposition. Add to that the fact that the biological application isn’t to do with creatures in the environment, but rather regenerative medicine, and you may well be raising an eyebrow or two. Let me explain…

Clay from the ground has been used for thousands of years for a variety of applications including pottery and topical skin treatments. Indeed, the Ancient Egyptians used clay as an antiseptic!

‘Clay’ refers to a huge group of largely silica-based materials, which are comprised of long chains sitting together to form layers. This confers highly attractive properties such as being highly ab- and adsorptive, having a low permeability, and being malleable when wet but solid when dry. This means that clays can be used in applications from drying pearls used within packaging, to carbon dioxide capture, but also many others in between.

Furthermore, clays have good cation exchange capability, which just means that parts of the clay can be substituted out and replaced by species such as drug molecules. (See an upcoming blog post by Juan for more information on this!)

However, clays from the ground also contain a mixture of minerals and metals depending on where exactly you have found the clay and this variable is far from ideal, especially when considering medicinal applications. Fortunately, it is possible to synthesise clay in a laboratory to control for such things and create a highly reproducible product with no batch-to-batch variability.

At Renovos, we have developed a synthetic clay, Renovite, which has nano-sized particles. This makes Renovite a nanoclay. If you’d like to read more about this, check out and we’ll also come back to this in a future blog post, so stay tuned! At the top of this page there’s a photo of the laboratory set up, making some Renovite in the evening sunshine.

Renovite looks like fine sugar (no photo necessary as I am sure you all know what that looks like!) but when added to an aqueous solution, it forms a gel with some very interesting and useful properties.

The gel is as clear as water but also thixotropic, which basically means it is like ketchup – it can be piped into position and holds the form in which it was placed. This means that the gel can be injected into the desired site and relied upon to remain there, thus allowing localised drug treatment. The gel then gets gradually biodegraded and replaced with regenerated tissue.

Here’s a photo of the gel, I’m holding it upside down to demonstrate that it is acting like a solid:

Gel as a solid

And here’s a video demonstrating the thixotropic nature:

I joined Renovos having worked with clays for a couple of other applications but nothing quite like this.

I am excited by the application and believe Renovite creates an excellent scaffold for medical treatments in regenerative medicine. To me, the research and development motives for localised treatments are clear – improved patient safety and prognosis.

That’s why I joined Renovos. That’s how a chemist can be developing nanoclays for a biotech company and be very excited about it all!

Alison Shaw at Renovos lab

By Allison Shaw

Renovos Biologics has appointed Patrick O’Donnell as Advisor to the Board

Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O’Donnell

Previously a General Manager and Executive Vice-President of North America for BoneSupport A.B.,  CEO at Proteothera, Inc, Histogenics Corporation, Prochon-BioTech, and in commercial roles of escalating management responsibility at Confluent Surgical Inc. and J & J DePuy-Spine, Patrick has a wealth of experience in the medical device, biologics, and biomaterials industries with technologies in the orthopedic, spine, neurosurgery, sports medicine, interventional radiology markets.

As an executive officer of biosurgery and medical device companies, he has created the strategy, built and led the commercial organizations, and raised capital (over $80M) to fund and execute the product development and clinical programs towards regulatory milestones.

With a passion for outstanding technologies in the orthobiologics space, Patrick will contribute to Renovos’ strategy for nanoclay commercialisation.

It is exciting for Renovos to welcome someone with such experience and enthusiasm for our Renovite nanoclay technology and we are looking forward to not only working with Patrick but also to the advances we can make with his support.

Impact White Paper

injectable nanoclay

Harnessing clay for regenerative medicine

An Impact white paper


Jon Dawson and Richard Oreffo have written a white paper on the nanoclay platform for Impact. In particular they share their thoughts and experiences with the nanoclay platform. Such as how the nanoclay platform can and will be used in the regenerative medicine field.

This Impact white paper provides an exciting overview into the technology. Furthermore, should you be more interested do visit our technical papers page.

The ESPRC and Innovate UK have provided funding to Jon Dawson and Richard Oreffo. Because of this funding research was able to be carried out to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the nanoclay platform.

Harnessing Clay for Regenerative Medicine PDF download
A white paper discussing the field of regenerative medicine, and the usefulness, current limitation of, and future of the nanoclay platform.