PixarBio Ups The Ante For InVivo, Strings Attached

Posted in Medical Device Business by amanda.pedersen on January 5, 2017

PixarBio offered $100 million in stock for InVivo Therapeutics Corp., but only if certain directors to get the boot.

Amanda Pedersen


Frank Reynolds upped the ante in PixarBio Corp.’s hostile takeover bid for his former company, InViVo Therapeutics Corp., but there are strings attached.

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PixarBio is now offering $100 million in stock to acquire Cambridge, MA-based InVivo, but only if board members Richard Roberts and Ken DiPietro resign, along with Mark Perrin, the company’s chairman and CEO. PixarBio’s original offer was $77 million in stock.


Key Players

Reynolds has placed himself squarely in the center of the PixarBio-InVivo battle.

A co-founder of InViVo, Reynolds served as the company’s CEO, CFO, and chairman for about eight years until he walked away without warning in August 2013, citing a medical condition. Yet within three months, he started PixarBio.

Perrin joined InViVo in January 2014 after serving as president of Dennan Consulting, a biotech consulting firm. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of ConjuChem Biotechnologies, a biotech firm that had been pursuing long-acting diabetes treaments but filed for bankruptcy in 2010, with all its assets being liquidated and all executives resigning.

The Montreal-based company had been in financial turmoil for some time before it shut its doors, and had tried to find a buyer before filing bankruptcy but no offers materialized. It is important to note, however, that ConjuChem had plenty of company on the biotech bankruptcy block. There was a long list of medical device and biotech firms that folded after the financial crises of 2008.

Reynolds is using that against Perrin in the takeover bid. “We all know that [Perrin] took his company before [InVivo] as CEO into bankruptcy, and Perrin has had three years … that’s enough time to succeed with a Frank Reynolds neuroscaffold technology, so it’s time for change,” Reynolds said.

Roberts is a director on InVivo’s scientific advisory board and a member of both the compensation committee and the nominating and corporate governance committee. Outside of InVivo, he is the chief scientific officer at New England Biolabs Inc., of Ipswich, MA.

DiPietro, also a board member, is chairman of InVivo’s compensation committee and also a member of the company’s nominating and corporate governance committee. Since January 2012, DiPietro has also been the executive vice president of human resources at Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Inc.

It is not clear why Reynolds is calling for Roberts and DiPietro’s resignations.

For its part, InVivo has only responded to Reynolds’ claims about being the inventor of the company’s neuro-spinal scaffold device for spinal cord injuries, and has elected to ignore all of the disparaging remarks PixarBio has directed at specific InVivo executives and board members.


Disputed Patent Rights

“The PixarBio press release contained a number of unfounded statements that do not warrant a response,” InVivo stated earlier this week. “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 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.”

To that, Reynolds fired back at InVivo for being “so bad they couldn’t lock up their founder and inventor."

"Not bright, we all know to sign and lock up our stars,” he added. “The failure to conduct an exit interview resulted in lost IP to InVivo Therapeutics.”

Amanda Pedersen is Qmed's news editor. Reach her at amanda.pedersen@ubm.com.


[Image credit: Pixabay]