Precursors of polyurethane chains have been reacted by means of in situ polymerization with organically modified montmorillonite clay to obtain polyurethane nanocomposites containing from 1 to 4 wt % of nanoreinforcement. The effective final dispersion of inorganic component at nanometric scale was investigated by X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. In addition, the effect of the nanoreinforcement incorporation on thermal and mechanical behavior of polyurethane nanocomposites was evaluated. Nanocomposites showed similar mechanical properties to polyurethanes containing high-hard segment contents with higher tensile modulus and a decrease in elastomeric properties of polyurethane materials. Finally, biocompatibility studies using L-929 fibroblast have been carried out to examine in vitro cell response and cytotoxicity of the matrix and their nanocomposite materials. Results suggested that the organic modifier in the clay is unsuitable for biomedical devices in spite of the fact that the matrix is a good candidate for cell adhesion and proliferation. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A:, 2011.