InVivo Therapeutics clashes with PixarBio over proposed takeover

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InVivo Therapeutics’ Neuro-spinal scaffold

Invivo Therapeutics has rebuked a press release from PixarBio claiming that it had made a US$77,000,000 stock offer to acquire the company.

The colourfully-worded release, dated 3 January 2017, claimed that PixarBio had initiated a take-over bid, expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. Titled “It’s Time to Make US Pharma GREAT Again, by Combining Two Frank Reynolds’ Founded Pharmas, PixarBio Corp and InVivo Therapeutics”, the release claimed that the proposed new venture, Reynolds Therapeutics Corporation, will help to “solve the opiate crisis and to regenerate chronic [sic] spinal cord in humans and finally cure paralysis.”

Invivo Therapeutics was founded by Frank Reynolds, the current chief executive officer of PixarBio. Invivo is currently trialling its Neuro-spinal scaffold, which aims to improve ASIA grade following spinal cord injury. The 10th patient was recently enrolled in the company’s study. PixarBio has developed a non-opioid pain treatment called NeuroRelease, which is designed to replace morphine. The company recently established a research centre in Woburn, USA.

PixarBio’s release criticised the current chief executive officer of Invivo Therapeutics, Mark Perrin, and claimed that the company was in a “continued spiral downward” which a deal with PixarBio “can stop”.

Frank Reynolds says, “It has been over 3.5 years since I resigned as chief executive officer of InVivo Therapeutics, to found PixarBio Corporation (PXRB) in August 2013. It is clear that 2013-2017 have not been great years for the Invivo chief executive officer and the Board of Directors. The round of recent major exits makes it a perfect time to keep the required exits for success going.  It is time to focus on shareholder value, and real change at Invivo.”

The press release also questioned the legitimacy of patents held by Invivo, stating, “It took years for Invivo to notify Frank Reynolds of their patent assignment issue…there has never been a bridge for InVivo shareholders to own the commercial rights to the original Neuroscaffold…Frank Reynolds and PixarBio can provide that to Invivo shareholders.”

In response, Invivo stated that the company “was not privy to the announcement…and has not had any discussions with PixarBio, nor any other party regarding this matter. Given that the nature of the offer is not credible, InVivo disclaims any obligation to make any additional public statements regarding this or similar proposed transactions from PixarBio.”

According to Invivo, “the PixarBio press release contained a number of unfounded statements that do not warrant a response. However, regarding the claims about patents and intellectual property, Invivo has an exclusive license in the field of spinal cord injury to all patents and patent applications in prosecution covering the Neuro-spinal scaffold. Frank Reynolds is not an inventor on any of these patents or patent applications, so no assignment is required and none was requested.”

PixarBio has not yet responded to Invivo’s press release.