A Medical Device Daily

454 Life Sciences (Branford, Connecticut) and Roche NimbleGen (Madison, Wisconsin) have reported a collaboration with Eli Lilly (Indianapolis) and SeqWright (Houston) to use genomic technologies to identify genetic variants possibly associated with various psychiatric diseases.

SeqWright will use NimbleGen Sequence Capture technology to selectively enrich roughly 40 megabases of the human genome, which will then be comprehensively sequenced using 454 Life Sciences' Genome Sequencer FLX System.

By using the most advanced genomic technologies, SeqWright has the ability to transform the drug discovery process by reducing the time and money necessary for researchers to identify potentially clinically informative genetic variations, the company said.

"Just a year ago, it would have been impossible to imagine how we could selectively sequence such a large portion of the human genome in such a fast and cost effective manner. Our goal at Lilly is to improve the outcomes of individual patients; increasing the speed at which we begin to understand the basis of disease is critical to improving those outcomes," said Brian Edmonds, PhD, research advisor, Global External Research and Development, Eli Lilly. "We are participating in this collaboration as a way to better examine the root causes of various psychiatric diseases. If this project delivers as expected, we hope to identify new biomarkers or novel drug targets for future development of medicines to treat an array of psychiatric illnesses."

"We have previously used the combination of NimbleGen capture arrays with the 454 Sequencing System in other areas with great success. The possibility to advance the scope of these technologies, from basic research applications to use in clinical research applications in the future, is showing enormous potential ," said Fei Lu, MD, CEO of SeqWright. "As a CLIA certified facility, where we employ and evaluate these new research technologies, we are ready to help move the industry closer to the goal of personalized medicine in the future, where identifying genetic variations within the human genome in a fast and accurate method will be of paramount importance."

In other agreements and contracts news:

• MedeAnalytics (Emeryville, California), a provider of healthcare performance management solutions, reported a multi-year agreement with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare (Wheaton, Illinois) to provide Real-Time Patient Access, Revenue Cycle, Self Pay, Registration Quality and RAC Analytics to Wheaton's Wisconsin and Iowa regions, which include 10 acute care sites and nearly a hundred ambulatory locations.

The implementation of MedeAnalytics solutions and services is expected to significantly increase point-of-service cash collections and reduce bad debt through the automation, standardization and enhancement of Wheaton's patient access process and business office workflow.

• CSC (Falls Church, Virginia) has signed an agreement with EMC (Hopkinton, Massachusetts) to offer advanced compliance solutions to the life sciences industry. As part of the agreement, EMC will now offer CSC's FirstDoc as a preferred regulatory compliance application. FirstDoc, based on the EMC Documentum enterprise content management platform, has more than 100,000 users worldwide.

FirstDoc is designed to help life sciences companies meet Part 11 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR Part 11) to ensure that electronic records and signatures are equivalent to those based on traditional paper based methods.

• Protomed (Marseille) has chosen Altair Engineering (Troy, Michigan) computer-aided engineering (CAE) software suite, HyperWorks, to enhance its numerical simulation capabilities. Protomed continues to expand its medical device research and development services by choosing Altair as its official computational software partner. The products of the software suite, especially its Radioss solver for implicit analysis tasks will be used within service projects of Protomed and to develop new and innovative implantable medical devices. Protomed engineers use CAE to predict physical responses of biological systems to known load conditions and will use HyperWorks to model medical devices for various applications, ranging from coronary stents to orthopedics implant.

• Ascent Healthcare Solutions (Phoenix) said that VHA (Irving, Texas) has awarded Ascent an agreement to provide remanufactured/reprocessed single-use medical devices. The agreement between the companies solidifies their mutual commitment to improving the cost and quality of healthcare and protecting the environment. The scope of the partnership goes beyond an endorsement of Ascent's program; it launches a renewed and stronger collaboration between VHA and Ascent to drive hospital sustainability and demonstrates the added, substantial value VHA members will receive from the agreement.

In 2008, VHA members that participated in Ascent's program saved more than $38 million and diverted one million pounds of waste.