• American Medical Systems Holdings (AMS; Minneapolis) reported the divestiture of its female sterilization assets and technology (Ovion technology) to Conceptus (Mount View, California) for $23.6 million. Also, as a result of this asset sale agreement, and separate agreements completed with third parties, AMS eliminated all existing and potential obligations and liabilities under previous agreements associated with the Ovion technology.

• Cardo Medical (Los Angeles), a company engaged in the development of orthopedic medical devices, reported that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Vertebron (Stratford, Connecticut), a spinal implant device company, for $1.3 million in cash. Vertebron develops spinal implant products focused on fusion technology for the lumbar and cervical spine as well as motion preservation technologies.

• Covidien (Dublin, Ireland and Mansfield, Massachusetts) has agreed to pay roughly $210 million to acquire Aspect Medical Systems (Norwood, Massachusetts), a company that develops brain-monitoring technology. The boards of both companies have approved the deal. A Covidien subsidiary will pay $12 a share in cash for a total of about $210 million, net of cash and short-term investments acquired. The transaction, which will take the form of an all-cash tender offer followed by a second-step merger, is subject to customary closing conditions and the companies expect to complete the deal by the end of the year. Once the transaction has been completed, Covidien will report the Aspect business as part of its Oximetry and Monitoring product line in the Medical Devices segment.

• Gen-Probe (San Diego) reported that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Prodesse (Waukesha, Wisconsin), a privately held developer of molecular tests for influenza and other infectious diseases, for about $60 million in cash. Gen-Probe's purchase price could increase to up to $85 million if Prodesse achieves certain financial and regulatory milestones in 2010 and 2011. Gen-Probe said it expects to finance the transaction with cash currently on its balance sheet.

• Kimberly-Clark (Dallas) reported that it will acquire I-Flow (Lake Forest, California) in a cash deal valued at about $276 million excluding acquired cash and cash equivalents. Kimberly-Clark will start a tender offer to buy all of I-Flow's outstanding stock at $12.65 per share, or about $324 million. I-Flow's suite of pain management products, led by its flagship line, the ON-Q Pain Relief System (ON-Q), is designed to provide reliable and simple non-narcotic, regional anesthesia therapies that redefine post-surgical recovery by eliminating many of the side effects customarily associated with narcotics.

• Peak Surgical (Palo Alto, California) and Medtronic (Minneapolis) reported an agreement that grants the Surgical Technologies business at Medtronic exclusive rights for global distribution and marketing of the Peak PlasmaBlade TnA (Tonsil and Adenoid) tissue dissection device for the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) market. The agreement provides Medtronic with exclusive global distribution rights for the Peak PlasmaBlade TnA tissue dissection device for the ENT market. Additionally, Peak will have access to a line of credit that can be used for general working capital purposes.

• Qiagen (Venlo, The Netherlands) said it has acquired DxS (Manchester, UK), a privately-held developer and manufacturer of companion diagnostic products. The deal is valued at about $95 million in cash (subject to customary purchase price adjustments), plus up to an additional $35 million if specified commercial and other milestones are met. With this acquisition, Qigen says it has "taken a strong leadership position in the new era of personalized healthcare."

• Quidel (San Diego), a provider of rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests, reported that it has entered into a joint development and commercialization agreement with BioHelix (Beverly, Massachusetts). The agreement with BioHelix focuses on the development and commercialization of in vitro molecular diagnostic tests utilizing BioHelix's novel isothermal amplification technology. Quidel will fund and jointly develop with BioHelix assays for rapid detection of infectious pathogens in a non-instrumented, handheld format utilizing BioHelix's isothermal amplification technology. BioHelix undertakes primary responsibility for assay development while Quidel has primary responsibility for manufacturing, marketing and selling the new products developed under the agreement and exclusive, worldwide commercialization rights for the new products.

A licensing and development agreement with Roche (Basel, Switzerland) and its subsidiary, Genentech (South San Francisco, California) could net Surmodics (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) up to $200 million in fees and milestone payments. The company reported the deal, which would give Roche and Genentech the exclusive license to use Surmodic's proprietary biodegradable microparticles drug delivery system to develop and commercialize a sustained drug delivery formulation of Lucentis. SurModics will receive an up-front licensing fee of $3.5 million. In addition, SurModics could be eligible to receive up to nearly $200 million in fees and milestone payments in the event of the successful development and commercialization of multiple products. SurModics said that it would receive undisclosed royalties on product sales.