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Invivo Therapeutics and The Miami Project Form Strategic Research Collaboration to Develop Novel Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
May 3, 2011 --InVivo Therapeutics (OTCBB: NVIV), a company focused on the development of groundbreaking technologies for the treatment of spinal cord injuries (SCI), and The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, today announced a strategic research collaboration for the development of novel SCI treatments.
The collaboration will evaluate InVivo’s biopolymer devices synergistically combined with cellular therapies, including The Miami Project’s Schwann cell technologies. Key components of the research collaboration agreement include:
-- in vitro and in vivo studies with combinations of biomaterials, Schwann cells and other
cellular therapies and drugs
-- joint ownership of resulting intellectual property
-- right of first offer for InVivo to license and commercialize on a worldwide
“This collaboration provides a tremendous opportunity for our technology platform”, said Frank Reynolds, CEO of InVivo Therapeutics. “To date, InVivo has been focused primarily on acute spinal cord injury research, and this partnership, which comes shortly before we file an Investigational Device Exemption for our first acute technology, will allow us to advance these technologies to the chronic spinal cord injury population with the Miami Project. The leadership of Nick and Marc Buoniconti has helped form what has become the world’s preeminent center of excellence for SCI research. We are honored to have them behind our efforts at InVivo and look forward to tapping their expertise to help us with our products,” said Frank Reynolds, CEO of InVivo Therapeutics”.
InVivo’s biopolymer scaffoldings mimic the natural and protective properties of the extracellular matrix within the spinal cord to promote the proliferation and survival of implanted cells. In preclinical studies, InVivo’s biopolymer devices, alone, combined with drugs, or seeded with human neural stem cells, have demonstrated the remarkable ability to minimize scarring (astrogliosis) and promote post-SCI neural survival.
“We are very pleased to form this partnership with InVivo Therapeutics and look forward to evaluating its innovative biopolymer scaffolding device,” said Marc Buoniconti, President of the Miami Project “We have been working on the problem of SCI for more than 25 years and look forward to exploring another promising avenue in our quest to address the enduring need for effective treatment options. The InVivo team shares our passion and personal commitment to finding new solutions to the challenges of spinal cord injury and paralysis.”
Schwann cells are an integral component of The Miami Project’s research strategy because they are an important component of the peripheral nervous system. The cells are known to insulate (myelinate) and promote the growth and regeneration of nerve fibers. In preclinical models, Miami Project scientists have demonstrated locomotor function recovery, spared nerve function and nerve cell growth using autologous Schwann cell transplantation. The Miami Project has completed preclinical studies and plans to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for a Phase 1 human study using Schwann cells with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011.
“InVivo’s biopolymer scaffoldings are novel tissue engineering solutions that may serve to improve functional recovery and promote the proliferation and survival of cellular therapies such as Schwann cells at the site of injury," said W. Dalton Dietrich, III, Ph.D., Scientific Director of The Miami Project. “We see significant potential in the natural synergies from combining these treatment approaches, both of which have been validated in preclinical studies. The Miami Project team looks forward to elucidating their potential and to working with InVivo toward our common goal of finding new and better treatments for spinal cord injury.
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