InVivo CEO Overcame Spinal Cord Injury, Now Aims to Create Better Treatment For Same Problem
Frank Reynolds, the CEO of Cambridge, MA-based InVivo Therapeutics, says he still feels pain in his lower back when he steps off a curb. The pain stems from the spinal cord injury Reynolds suffered in an auto accident in 1992. It’s no coincidence that today he is running a medical technology firm with an implant that could prevent some cases of paralysis.
This week InVivo launched a second study to test its polymer-based device—implanted at the site of the spinal cord injury—in monkeys, Reynolds says. If successful, the study could provide enough evidence to get the “green light” from the FDA to begin human testing next year. Reynolds also aims to raise $15 million in a Series A financing round in the next few months to fund the company through human clinical trials and the cost of a factory to mass-produce the device. (Thus far, the company has raised nearly $3 million from family and friends.)
“The rest of the world is focused on regeneration.” Reynolds says. “We take a different path than the rest of the world.”
Initially developed in the lab of prolific MIT inventor Bob Langer—a scientific advisor of InVivo—the company’s fingertip-sized device is intended to be implanted within days of a spinal cord injury to limit tissue damage, or secondary injuries, that most often cause patients to become paralyzed. The device is made of biodegradable polymers engineered to dissolve in the body in weeks. Reynolds says the fabrication and use of the materials and not the materials themselves make the device unique.
Today’s limited options to treat spinal cord injuries include stabilizing patients’ bodies to prevent further damage, anti-inflammatory drugs, and, if needed, surgeries to decompress injured areas and to remove bone fragments.
With mixed results, many experimental treatments for spinal injuries have focused on treating damaged neurons. Hopkinton, MA-based Alseres Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALSE), for example, is developing a … Next Page »