The one-step solution for chronic bone infections

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Serious bone infections are associated with bone surgery, diabetic foot ulcers and open fracture trauma. When bone infections are chronic, the treatment approach is long term and requires at least two surgical interventions. The first involves systemic administration of antibiotics, which requires long periods of hospital care, involving frequent recurrence and considerable secondary effects. Once the infection has been eradicated, a second surgical intervention is required to apply a bone graft.


  • To provide a single-step treatment for bone infections that is able to both deliver antibiotics locally and promote bone regeneration.

Problem to Solve

Chronic bone infections affect 4 million new patients every year worldwide, and are associated to diabetic foot ulcers, prosthesis implantation and open fractures. The current treatment relies on at least two surgeries and antibiotic treatment, with long stretches of hospitalization, frequent recurrence, considerable collateral effects, high costs, and with considerable impact to the patient, including pain, impaired mobility and extensive labour lost time. It is often a lifelong problem with high risks of uncontrolled infection that can lead to amputation or septicaemia.


HECOLCAP main advantage is to be the single-step solution for bone infections, locally delivering the antibiotic, eradicating the infection, while inducing new bone formation. Its macro- and microporous spongeous morphology, chemically resembling the bone matrix, mimics bone structure. It reduces overall treatment time and stretches of hospitalisation, providing major improvement in patients’ quality of life.

Level of Innovation

HECOLCAP provides an effective solution to treating chronic bone infections, offering single-step treatment that significantly reduces patient’s hospitalisation time and collateral damage. The technology is already patented, the proof of concept was established and pre-clinical trials on large animals presented successful results.


Project leader

Susana Sousa

Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomedica

Project leader

Professor; Research group leader

Fernando J. Monteiro

Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomedica

Technology transfer officer

João Cortez

Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomedica

Financial and management advisor

Carlos Cerqueira

Orthopaedic surgeon

Nuno Alegrete

Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomedica

PhD student

Catarina Coelho

Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomedica

Post-doctoral fellow

Ângela Carvalho

Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomedica


Tatiana Padrão

Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomedica

Marketing Expert

Marta Evangelista


Deputy Director of Innovation. Head of Health Technology Assessment Unit

Laura Sampietro

Hospital Clínic de Barcelona


Obra social “la Caixa”
Caixa Capital Risc
CI.V 18

Scientific Area


Business area

Medical Devices

Research center

Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomedica