A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Kai Sensors (Honolulu, Hawaii) said it has won a National Science Foundation (Arlington, Virginia) contract to develop a system for detecting sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

Kai Sensors said it would use the $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase I contract to develop a prototype wireless sleep monitoring system. By successfully completing a working prototype, it could qualify for a $500,000 Phase II award that would support completion of the device, the company said.

"Kai Sensors' non-contact sensors are a natural fit for the wireless sleep monitor we will develop," said Andrea Yuen, Kai Sensors CEO. "We believe this monitor will make detection of sleep apnea more convenient and effective and thus help improve the lives of many people."

Kai Sensors said it will own any intellectual property generated from the project. The company also said in developing the system it anticipates developing technology that will become advanced monitoring features specific to sleep disorders in future products.

In other agreements/contracts news:

• Innovative Biosensors (Rockville, Maryland) and Thermo Fisher Scientific (Waltham, Massachusetts) reported that they have entered into a manufacturing and distribution agreement.

Under the agreement, the Thermo Fisher Air Quality Instruments business will manufacture IB's BioFlash Biological Aerosol Collection, Detection and Identification System which provides near real-time, specific and sensitive detection of up to 21 pathogens in single test or multi-test formats. Thermo Fisher also will have a worldwide sales, marketing and distribution license under its Thermo Scientific brand, in certain markets for IBI's BioFlash together with any associated consumables.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

• SleepQuest (San Carlos, California), a provider of in-home sleep testing and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP treatment, recently signed a contract with Aetna (Hartford, Connecticut) to serve more patients with sleep-related illnesses such as obstructive sleep apnea who are in need of sleep testing services and CPAP treatment.

SleepQuest will now be part of Aetna's participating network of healthcare providers.

• American Imaging Management (AIM; Chicago) reported that it has launched a diagnostic imaging management program with Regence (Portland, Oregon).

Under this agreement, AIM is administering a radiology benefit management program to enhance the appropriate use of advanced diagnostic imaging procedures delivered in an outpatient, non-emergent setting for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and Regence BlueShield (in selected counties in Washington).

• Micro Power (Beaverton, Oregon) reported that it has been selected as the supplier of Lithium-polymer battery packs and chargers for the new Carestream DRX-1 System detector.

The DRX-1 system detector allows the user to capture digital radiography images using conventional x-ray equipment and procedures, so disruption, downtime and training is minimal. The wireless battery-powered detector provides the cordless positioning freedom of a conventional cassette.

• HemoCue (Madison, New Jersey), a subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics (Madison, New Jersey), reported that it has signed an agreement with Medical Automation Systems (MAS; Charlottesville, Virginia) for the development of a RALS-Plus module for the HemoCue 201 DM analyzer whole-blood systems for hemoglobin and glucose point-of-care measurement.

The interface will enable users of the HemoCue 201 DM analyzers to automatically manage, report and electronically transfer patient hemoglobin and glucose data to the RALS-Plus database and a hospital's laboratory information system. The company expects to introduce the hospital connectivity feature in fall 2009.

"Today's technologies bring laboratory-quality results closer to the patient, and point-of-care diagnostic insights allow healthcare providers to address a patient's immediate health concerns quickly and directly," said Jon Cohen, MD, Quest Diagnostics senior vice president and chief medical officer.

He added, "When these insights are automatically transmitted to the hospital's laboratory information system, their value extends far beyond a single episode of care and to the longer-term care and well-being of the patient."

HemoCue products enable common blood and urine tests to be performed at the point-of-care without sacrificing the accuracy and precision offered by a central clinical lab.

Measurement of hemoglobin is important for blood donors and patients under consideration for transfusion therapy, or currently receiving dialysis or chemotherapy treatment, where instant test results can lead to immediate treatment decisions.

The HemoCue hand-held systems are used in physicians' offices, blood banks, hospitals, diabetes clinics and public health clinics.