A six-month dispute between a biotech company and a university primate facility it contracted for a study on spinal cord injury has prompted a lawsuit. Cambridge-based biotech InVivo Therapeutics filed suit against Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) with the US District Courts in Boston earlier this month (Sept. 1), claiming the school's primate center improperly cared for monkeys during the study, resulting in the death of four animals and a premature end to the research.
"We were surprised by the lawsuit," OHSU spokesperson Jim Newman told The Scientist. "We disagree with the claims that were made by InVivo and we plan to vigorously defend ourselves."
In January of this year, InVivo contracted OHSU's Oregon National Primate Center to host their research, which involved severing the spinal cords of rhesus monkeys to test the company's polymer device, designed to aid the recovery of lower body motor skills after spinal cord injury. But the study was halted in late February, after the first seven animals to undergo spinal-severing surgery developed bladder complications. Within days, four of the monkeys had to be euthanized.
InVivo is suing OHSU for not giving the monkeys proper post-surgical care, which they say caused the routine bladder problems to become more serious issues. They further charge OHSU with halting the experiment and euthanizing the animals against the company's wishes.
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