Orthonika awarded £1.34 million Innovate UK grant to accelerate development of its total meniscus replacement towards the clinic

June 19, 2023
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Orthonika Limited, a spin-out from Imperial College London, has been awarded a £1.34 million grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to complete pre-clinical development and testing of its synthetic total meniscus replacement in preparation for the clinic.

Meniscus injury is severely debilitating, causing pain and restricted movement that limits everyday activities. Current treatment options are limited to suture repair or meniscal allografts, which are in short supply and lead to long waiting times. Where suture repair is not possible, the injured part or remaining meniscus is removed (meniscectomy) to alleviate symptoms in the short term. However, such patients are 14 times more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Meniscectomy has become the most common orthopaedic surgical intervention worldwide, with nearly 2 million interventions performed each year. There are currently no approved total meniscus replacements for these patients.

Orthonika’s total meniscus replacement is an orthopaedic implant for the knee joint that represents an entirely novel solution, replicating the structure and function of the native meniscus in a first-of-its-kind synthetic option for patients. The implant design is unique, featuring an inherent attachment mechanism incorporated into the underlying structure which allows for optimal load transfer and distribution in the knee joint during mobility. Orthonika’s implant aims to restore the biomechanical function of the meniscus to help reduce pain, improve mobility and ultimately delay the onset of osteoarthritis. It is intended to fill the gap between minimally invasive meniscus repair and total knee replacement.

“There is currently no widely available treatment solution that allows patients to return to a pain free active lifestyle following meniscectomy,” said Maria Kristina Bartolo, PhD, Chief Technology Officer at Orthonika. “We are delighted that Innovate UK has recognised the potential for our novel total meniscus replacement to fulfil a significant unmet clinical need and further promote joint preservation.”

Dominique Kleyn, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, said: “This highly competitive award brings additional resource for Orthonika to further expand the team, engage with development partners and manufacturers, and accelerate plans to take our total meniscus replacement product into first in human studies.”

This is the fifth Innovate UK grant awarded to Orthonika, bringing total grant funding to £2 million. The company has also raised equity funding to further support its R&D efforts.

About Orthonika:

Orthonika is a spin-out company from Imperial College London aiming to develop and commercialise a novel total meniscus replacement device. It uniquely combines world class material science, polymer processing and fibre engineering to develop a fully synthetic anatomical meniscus replacement for the knee joint, fulfilling a gap of high unmet clinical need.

About meniscus injury:

Meniscal surgery is one of the most common orthopaedic surgical interventions with 2 million meniscectomies performed annually worldwide (1). Only approximately 20% of meniscus tears are repairable depending on their tear pattern and location (2). When meniscus repair is not possible, the current standard of care is partial or total meniscectomy (meniscus removal). Although removal of the meniscus may alleviate symptoms in the short term, meniscectomy patients are 14 times more likely to develop osteoarthritis (3), a chronic and debilitating condition. There are currently no approved total meniscus replacement options for patients who have loss of meniscal function.

About Innovate UK:

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, 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 https://www.ukri.org/councils/innovate-uk/.

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