Tensive is a biomedical startup established in 2012 to develop innovative prostheses aiming to offer a natural breast reconstruction or augmentation.

Tensive prostheses are based on biodegradable synthetic biomaterials and fabricated with an internal micro-architecture.  

This distinctive combination, obtained with a patented process, aims to promote the natural adipose tissue growth. During the regenerative process, Tensive’s prosthesis is designed to be gradually degraded and replaced by the patients’ own fat tissue. Our product is not yet tested on humans.

Our Mission

The loss of a breast can psychologically impact the life of a breast cancer patient.
Tensive's long-term mission is to restore a natural breast to patients who experienced reconstructive surgery after mastectomy or lumpectomy, to improve their quality of life and avoiding recurrent and expensive surgical operations.


Gianfranco Bellezza

Gianfranco Bellezza (CEO & Chief Scientific Officer) Gianfranco has twenty-eight years of experience in the clinical sector, during which he acquired a deep knowledge of the Healthcare system and the regulatory aspects, in Italy and in Europe. He has held various positions (CEO, Scientific and General Manager, Scientific and Marketing Vice President Europe and Middle East) collaborating in a number of projects in the field of innovative medical technologies, in USA and Europe. Thanks to this, Gianfranco possesses an outstanding specialization in different Healthcare’s areas and the related therapies: from cancer surgery to minimally invasive cardiac surgery; from orthopedics to interventional radiology, reconstructive plastic surgery and tissue biotechnology.

Alberto Cantaluppi

Alberto Cantaluppi, MD (Chairman of the Board) is a senior executive with strong background in Medicine, Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Renal Therapy, Diagnostics, Bioscience, Cardiovascular Medicine, and Healthcare Services.
Alberto had full P&L responsibility and holds expertise in Sales and Marketing, Merger and Acquisition Integration, Governmental Affairs and Public Policies, Negotiation, Strategy and Organizational Design, Turnaround, Divestiture, Restructuring, Legal Split, Commissionaire and Toll Manufacturing Model, and Team Dynamics.

Irini Gerges

Irini Gerges, Ph.D. (co-founder; Chief Technology Officer & R&D Director) has more than ten years of experience in polymer chemistry and biomaterials fields. She received her Bachelor in science-major chemistry from Ain Shams University (Egypt); M.Sc in chemistry from University of Milan (Italy) and Ph.D. in biomaterials from Biomolecular Sciences (BIOS) doctorate school, University of Pisa (Italy). In 2010, Irini worked as a researcher and chemistry consultant at the laboratory of biomaterials BioMatLab, in the department of biomedical engineering at Politecnico di Milano. From 2011 to 2014, she worked as senior researcher at Advanced Biomaterials platform in Fondazione Filarete, where she was the reference figure for the design; syntheses and fabrication of innovative functional polymers for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. She was awarded the first prize “women in research and scientific development” from the Councillor of equal opportunities of Milan. Irini is author of ten peer-reviewed articles and a co-inventor of three international patents.

Federico Martello

Federico Martello, Ph.D. (co-founder; Chief Operating Officer), has served as Operation Director from the company’s foundation, in 2012, to date. In the team, Federico’s role comprises coordination of the Product Development activities, client seeking and general administration. Federico has been also Team Leader of the Advanced Biomaterials platform at Fondazione Filarete for 4 years, where he managed the platform activities and development from 2009 to 2012, bringing the platform to economical sustainability. Before his collaboration with Fondazione Filarete, Federico obtained a PhD in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Milan and the University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands). He received his Master of Science in Industrial Chemistry and Management from the University of Milan. Currently, he is involved in a H2020 European Research&Innovation project as a research unit coordinator. Federico is also author of ten peer-reviewed articles and is a co-inventor of three international patents.

Valentina Morigi

Valentina Morigi, MSc has experience in financial due diligence, post deal integration, business plan review, operations and financial analysis. She graduated with a Bachelor in Economics and Management from the University of Bologna and a Master in Finance from the Catholic University of Milan. During the master degree Valentina was selected to join the nanomedicine team of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute (Houston, Texas), where she lead one of the first economic studies on the development of nanomedicine companies in the US. The work has been published in a scientific journal and received 40+ citations and gained interest among US-based universities and the EU commission who offered her the opportunity to continue the study.

Valentina worked for 3 years for the global consulting company PwC, in the transaction services department and had a rotation with the operations team. Valentina co-founded the Organ Preservation Alliance, the Silicon Valley-based non-profit incubated at NASA Ames Research Park (Mountain View, CA) that aims to enable breakthroughs in organs and tissues cryopreservation and transplant medicine.

Margherita Tamplenizza

Margherita Tamplenizza, Ph.D. (co-founder; Chief Regulatory Officer) is researcher in biology. She founded the biological section at the Advanced Biomaterial platform of Fondazione Filarete and she currently coordinates life sciences companies’ activities in Assolombarda, the largest territorial association of the entire entrepreneurial system in Italy. Previously, Margherita has worked in The Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces (CIMaINa) at the University of Milan where she depth her experience on cell-material interaction. She obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Physiology at the University of Milan and the Paracelsus Medical University of Salzburg (Austria) and she also worked for the University of Innsbruck (Austria) and the Italian Institute for Auxology for biomedicine projects. She trained on Manufacturing of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product and she obtained her Master degree as Qualified Person of Pharmaceutical Laboratories in 2014. Margherita is author of four peer- reviewed articles and a co-inventor of two patents.

Alessandro Tocchio

Alessandro Tocchio, Ph.D. (co-founder). Since 2012 Alessandro is co-founder of Tensive and the Organ Preservation Alliance, a non-profit organization, incubated at SU Labs at NASA's Research Park in Silicon Valley.

He holds a Ph.D. in Medical Nanotechnology at the European School of Molecular Medicine and the University of Milan and a Bachelor and Master of Science in Physics Engineering from the Politecnico of Milan, with focus on nanotechnology. He is also a graduated student of Singularity University. Currently he is postdoctoral research scholar at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Alessandro co-authored 14 peer-reviewed papers and is co-inventor of three patents.


Scott Guelcher, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University School of Engineering (TN, USA). After completing his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech, Dr. Guelcher worked in the Research Division of Eastman chemical Company in Kingsport, TN on a number of projects in chemical and nutraceutical processing. He subsequently completed his Ph.D. with Professor John Anderson in Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where his dissertation work focused on investigating the electric field-induced motion of colloidal particles deposited near an electrode. Prior to his appointment at Vanderbilt, Dr. Guelcher was a Senior Associate Scientist in the Polyurethanes Division at Bayer Corporation and an NIH NRSA Fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University where he worked with Professor Jeffrey Hollinger in bone tissue engineering. Professor Guelcher joined Vanderbilt University in 2005, and opened the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory in January 2006. He is author of more than 160 peer-reviewed scientific papers and inventor of 26 patents. Dr. Guelcher is a renown expert in the design, synthesis, and characterization of polymeric biomaterials for bone tissue engineering (with synthetic scaffolds)

Saverio Cinti, MD

Professor at Polytechnic University of Marche (Ancona, Italy), where he coordinates different courses among which the integrated anatomy course at the Medicine and Surgery Degree and the Nourishment Degree. His main research topics are mammalian adipose organ (with brown adipocytes, organogenesis, functional anatomy, plasticity, transdifferentiation), Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity, Nutrition, Insulin Resistance and tissue engineering. He is author of the “Use of isolated mature adipocytes in regenerative medicine for tissue renewal and repair” patent (Italian Patent Deposit MI2008A001464), a book entitled “The adipose organ”, chapters in 13 books, more than 260 original publications on international journals with peer reviewers and he had more than 12,600 citations of the published work (Scopus June 2015 Author ID: 7004604501) with an H index of 51 (Scopus June 2015 Author ID: 7004604501).
The most recent awards received are Friedrich Wassermann Prize European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) (2013 - http://www.easo.org/easo) and the selection for the lecture at the world congress of International Federation Associations of Anatomists for the EFEM (European Federation Experimental Morphology) (2014 Beijin - http://www.csas.org.cn/ifaa2014). Dr. Cinti is the worldwide expert in adipose tissue.

Mario Rietjens, MD

Plastic Surgeon: Director of the Division of Reconstructive Surgery at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO). He graduated in Medicine and Surgery at the University do Estado de Sao Paulo (Unesp) of Botucatu (Brazil) and specialized in general oncology surgery at the Pio XII Foundation of Barretos (Brazil). He also graduated and specialized in plastic surgery at the University of Milan. At IEO he performs clinical researches in the field of Plastic Reconstruction Surgery, mainly in the development of new techniques, such as lipofilling, mammal repairing after a reconstructive surgery following removal caused by neoplasy. He is the referent of a clinical study aimed at evaluating the time of degeneration of silicone-gel mammal prostheses according to the time of implant. He participates in a new European study for the development of the use of the stem cells of adipose origin for the mammal repairing after quadrantectomy or mastectomy.

Antonio Memeo, MD

Director of the Operating Unit of Pediatric Orthopedics at the Orthopedic Institute G. Pini. He graduated in Medicine and Surgery and specialized Orthopedics and Traumatology at the University of Milan. Since 1993 he collaborates with the pediatric clinic De Marchi (Milan) focusing on the juvenile idiopathic arthritis. In 2000 he moves to the Orthopedic Institute G. Pini, where currently is Director of the Operating Unit of Pediatric Orthopedics. He is also Lecturer at the School of Specialization of Orthopedics and Traumatology at the University of Milan.

Francesco Garbagnati, MD

Medical-clinical Consultant, Interventional Radiologist, Prof. Garbagnati has collaborated with the National Cancer Institute of Milan from 1980 to 2015. He has designed and performed pioneeristic experiments in 1988 on percutaneous thermal ablation radiofrequency treatment in haepatic tumors. He personally has carried out more than 2000 procedures in thermal ablation. Prof. Garbagnati has been Director of the Intralesional Treatment Unit in the National Cancer Institute of Milan (Radiology Department). He collaborated with many clinical and industrial partners in Europe and USA for dissemination and developing of the radiofrequency-thermal ablation techniques. Moreover, he is author of more than 130 publications on international peer-reviewed scientific journals and several international patents.

Giuliano Antonio Lucani, MD

Expert in Vascular Surgery and Director of the Surgery Unit at the C.d.C. Columbus (Milan), Dr. Lucani has been previously Director of the Mini-invasive, Breast and Toracic Surgery Unit at the hospital of Garbagnate Milanese (Milan) and is currently Member and Scientific Director of the Breast Unit at the hospital Policlinico of Monza. He is also founder and member of the board at the ANISC (Italian National Society of Breast Surgeons) and member of the Scientific Committee of the Society for Women Health. Dr. Lucani is also author or co-author of more than 100 publications on international peer-reviewed scientific journals and communications at clinical congresses.

Cristina Lenardi, Ph.D

Researcher Associate in Physics: Cristina Lenardi is graduated in Physics at the University of Trieste and received her doctorate degree from the Politecnico of Milan. She is researcher at Dept. of Molecular Science Applied to Biosystems of Pharmacy Faculty and at the Center of Excellence CIMaINa of the University of Milan. Since 2009 she is the Head of Advanced Biomaterials platform at Fondazione Filarete. Her area of research focuses on biomaterials microfabrication techniques for the control of cell growth and stimuli aiming to mimic complex biochemistries and geometries of the extracellular matrix. She is author of about 85 papers on peer-reviewed journals, one book and two patents. She received a prize award from the G. Galileo Foundation and the “L. Tartufari” prize awarded by the Lincei National Academy.

News & Achievements

Tensive team received numerous awards from different institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce of Milan, StartCup Milano-Lombardia, ItaliaCamp, Startup dell’Anno, the French Embassy in Italy, Premio Gaetano Marzotto, Intel Global Challenge, Veneto Nanotech, 360 Capital Partners, Unicredit Start Lab Italian Venture Forum and the Italian Education Ministry. Tensive has been also featured on several media channels, including Wired and Forbes. Team members also attended outstanding international programs such as Singularity University, SeedLab, Mind the Bridge School and Startup Revolutionary Road.

Tensive admitted to the Phase 1 of H2020 "SME Instrument"

Tensive has been admitted to the Phase 1 of "SME Instrument" call within Horizon 2020 (the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever), with the project "REGENERA", to develop innovative prostheses for adipose tissue regeneration.

Tensive riceve un investimento di 500 mila euro da Unicredit e Invitalia Ventures.

(Comunicato Stampa) 20 maggio 2016 – Nuovo traguardo per la startup biomedicale Tensive, che ha ricevuto un secondo investimento di 500 mila euro. Ad investire sono il programma di accelerazione UniCredit Start Lab, promosso da UniCredit per favorire lo sviluppo delle startup innovative italiane, in compartecipazione con Invitalia Ventures, SGR, nata per dare velocità e operatività allo sviluppo delle imprese ad alto contenuto innovativo, che investe un importo pari a quello dell’istituto di credito, ovvero 250 mila euro.

Tensive, fondata a Milano come spin-off di Fondazione Filarete, sta sviluppando una protesi basata su un biomateriale sintetico e biodegradabile, dotato di porosità interne e microcanali che replicano l’architettura dei vasi sanguigni. Questa tecnologia ha l’obiettivo di innescare il processo rigenerativo del tessuto adiposo, mentre il biomateriale sintetico delle protesi si degrada progressivamente. Il prodotto, non ancora testato sull’uomo, è in fase di studio preclinico.

"Siamo felici di poter sostenere, con questo quinto investimento nell'equity, una delle oltre 2.500 startup che abbiamo incontrato in 3 anni e delle oltre 150 che abbiamo accelerato con UniCredit Start Lab - ha osservato Gabriele Piccini, Country Chairman Italy di UniCredit. "Favorire l'innovazione e accompagnare giovani imprenditori che ne fanno un pilastro della propria attività vuole essere per noi un segno sempre più caratterizzante e distintivo."

Un riconoscimento che conferma non solo l’alto contenuto tecnologico e di ricerca, ma anche di innovazione sociale. Infatti, “in campo oncologico, la perdita del seno può avere un impatto psicologico molto negativo sulla paziente. Per questa ragione, l’obiettivo di Tensive è quello restituire un seno naturale alle donne che si sono sottoposte a mastectomia o quadrantectomia e fornire una soluzione efficace e permanente per migliorare la loro qualità della vita.” Afferma Gianfranco Bellezza, CEO e Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) di Tensive.

“Questo investimento in Tensive ci rende particolarmente orgogliosi. Il settore biomedicale offre innovazioni di grande portata e rappresenta un felice esempio di valorizzazione economica della ricerca e della conoscenza scientifica. Tensive è una startup che sintetizza e ribadisce un aspetto importante della mission di Invitalia Ventures, a supporto di un’ impresa a elevato impatto sociale, medico e sanitario”, dichiara Salvo Mizzi, Amministratore Delegato di Invitalia Ventures

L'investimento ricevuto, permetterà un’ulteriore crescita di Tensive, consentendo di continuare lo sviluppo del prodotto, il cui obiettivo è quello di superare il trattamento oggi più comune nella ricostruzione o nell’aumento del seno – ovvero la protesi siliconica – che non ricostruisce il tessuto adiposo ma lo rimpiazza, e non costituisce una soluzione definitiva poiché necessità di interventi chirurgici periodici.

"Siamo particolarmente felici del nuovo traguardo raggiunto dalla nostra impresa. Questo importante round di finanziamenti ci consente di accelerare lo sviluppo del nostro prodotto innovativo.” ha sottolineato Alberto Cantaluppi, Presidente di Tensive.

Il team di Tensive è formato da medici, da manager di lungo corso, da ricercatori chimici e biomedici, nonché da figure esperte di finanza e management regolatorio, è supportato da un Advisory Board di eccellenza e ha ricevuto importanti riconoscimenti quali il Premio Gaetano Marzotto, Intel Global Challenge, 360 Capital Partners, Unicredit Start Lab.


E. Rossi*, I. Gerges*, A. Tocchio*, M. Tamplenizza, P. Aprile, C. Recordati, F. Martello, I. Martin, P. Milani, C. Lenardi. Biologically and mechanically driven design of an RGD-mimetic Macroporous Foam for Adipose Tissue Engineering Applications. Biomaterials (2016). (*Authors contributed equally)

C. Schulte; S. Rodighiero; M. A. Cappelluti; L. Puricelli; E. Maffioli; F. Borghi; A. Negri; E. Sogne; M. Galluzzi; C. Piazzoni; M. Tamplenizza; A. Podestà; G. Tedeschi; C. Lenardi; P. Milani. Conversion of nanoscale topographical information of cluster-assembled zirconia surfaces into mechanotransductive events promotes neuronal differentiation. J Nanobiotechnology (2016).

I. Gerges*, M. Tamplenizza*, S. Lopa, C. Recordati, F. Martello, A. Tocchio, L. Ricotti, C. Arrigoni, P. Milani, M. Moretti C. Lenardi. Creep-Resistant Dextran-Based Polyurethane Foam as a Candidate Scaffold for Bone Tissue Engineering: Synthesis, Chemico-Physical Characterization, In vitro and In vivo Biocompatibility. International Journal of Polymeric Materials (2016). (*Authors contributed equally)

I. Gerges*M. Tamplenizza*, E. Rossi*, A. TocchioF. Martello, C. Recordati, D. Kumar, N. R. Forsyth, Y. Liu and C. Lenardi. A Tailor-Made Synthetic Polymer for Cell Encapsulation: Design Rationale, Synthesis, Chemical–Physics and Biological Characterizations. Macromolecular Bioscience, 2016. (*Authors contributed equally)


Viale Ortles 22/4, 20139, Milano (Italy)
Phone:+39 (0) 2 5666 0153

General information and careers: info@tensivemed.com
U.S. contact and Media Relations: valentina.morigi@tensivemed.com