A Medical Device Daily

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA; Washington) has awarded a $26.9 million contract to design and build a free-standing spinal cord injury center at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

The contract was awarded to the C3T Construction (Milwaukee), a service-disabled, Veteran-owned small business. The 67,000-square-foot building will have a connecting tunnel, providing access to the hospital, and replace a smaller unit in the main hospital building. Design and construction of the center will overlap and the project is expected to be finished in less than two years.

The two-story structure, like the original unit, will provide 38 beds and outpatient services. The additional space is designed to improve accessibility, privacy and independence for patients; improve efficiency of staff; and increase space for physical and recreational therapy, a specialty clinic, a kitchen and administration.

In other agreements and contracts news:

• Ivax Diagnostics (Miami) has signed a distribution agreement with Augurix (Geneva) for Simtomax Blood Drop, the first one-step rapid test that accurately diagnoses celiac disease in all patients. Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a food intolerance to three cereals widely present in food, wheat, barley and rye that afflicts about 1% of the global population. The prevalence and incidence of the disease in the key markets covered by the agreement (i.e., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K) exceeds one million and 31,000 people, respectively.

As part of the agreement, Ivax Diagnostics will distribute Simtomax Blood Drop through its Delta Biologicals division to doctors in countries that include Italy, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Romania, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Patients will be able to detect the presence of the disease within 10 minutes.

• athenahealth (Fort Worth, Texas), has partnered with Cook Children's Physician Network's (CCPN; Watertown, Massachusetts) purchasing organization, PedsPal, to offer preferred pricing for athenahealth's electronic health record (EHR) service, athenaClinicals and its revenue cycle management service, athenaCollector, to CCPN's 1,100 affiliated physicians as part of a larger national clinical connectivity strategy.

• Abbott Molecular (Des Plaines, Illinois reported that it has entered into an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK; London) to develop an automated molecular diagnostic test, based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, intended to screen non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors for expression of the MAGE-A3 antigen. GSK's MAGE-A3 ASCI (Antigen Specific Cancer Immunotherapy) candidate is currently being evaluated as an adjuvant treatment in resected NSCLC in a phase III study.

Under terms of the agreement, Abbott, in conjunction with GSK, will develop and commercialize a PCR test designed to detect MAGE A3 for use on the Abbott m2000 automated instrument system.