InVivo looks to get gel-delivered pain drug on U.S. market

InVivo Therapeutics is working with the FDA to get its hydrogel-delivered pain treatment on the market, and the company says the drug could be worth more than $22 billion a year.

The firm is engaged with the FDA's Combination Products department, looking to get approval for its injectable treatment for acute and sub-acute neck, back and leg pain, ailments the company says affect 4.2 million patients in the U.S. The platform, a proprietary hydrogel, allows for a sustained release of the anti-inflammatory methylprednisolone once injected in the body, and the company's CMO said its delivery tech will be key to cracking the neurological pain market.

"We feel that the hydrogel addresses several specific limitations of current therapies by allowing predictable, sustained release of therapeutic molecules," Eric Woodard said in a statement. "Additionally, it exhibits the novel property of syneresis, or shrinkage, that significantly enhances its safety profile in neurological applications."

Frank Reynolds, InVivo's CEO, said the drug could be worth more than $22 billion a year once it hits the market, and the firm plans to find a marketing partner by the end of this year to commercialize the treatment. 

The Cambridge, MA-based company is one of many biotech firms tied to MIT's Robert Langer, who co-invented the company's biocompatible spinal scaffolding technology and serves on InVivo's advisory board.

- read the company's release