A Medical Device Daily

Merge Healthcare (Milwaukee), a healthcare IT solutions provider, has commenced an exchange offer for all of the outstanding shares of etrials Worldwide's (Morrisville, North Carolina) common stock pursuant to their previously disclosed definitive merger agreement (Medical Device Daily, June 2, 2009).

The Merge tender offer, which consists of a mix of $0.80 in cash and 0.3448 shares of Merge common stock for each share of etrials common stock, represents an aggregate value of $1.70 a share, calculated using the $2.610, 20-day volume-weighted average price of Merge common stock as of the close of market on May 26, last trading day before Merge made this offer to etrials.

The exchange offer is scheduled to expire at midnight, EDT, on July 14, unless extended.

etrials is a provider of eClinical software and services to medical device, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies, as well as contract research organizations.

Opko Health (Miami) reported that it has acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to a new platform technology for the rapid identification of molecules that can be useful as vaccines and new drugs, and to create new diagnostic tests.

The technology was developed at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas), by Thomas Kodadek, PhD, and his team. Kodadek, who has recently joined the faculty of the Scripps Research Institute (Jupiter, Florida), will become a consultant to Opko to oversee the development of this technology and he will also become a member of Opko's scientific advisory board.

"Our initial focus will be on the development of simple and accurate, quantitative blood tests for several diseases for which none are presently available and for which early diagnosis is difficult," said Phillip Frost, MD, chairman/CEO of Opko. "We plan to begin with tests for Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and lung cancer."

In other dealmaking news:

• Doctor Diabetic Supply (DDS; Miami), a leading distributors of diabetic testing supplies and related products, reported the acquisition of Diabetes Source Rx (Lafayette, Louisiana), a distributor of diabetes supplies.

The company said the acquisition is an important step in the execution of DDS's growth strategy. It added that customers from Diabetes Source Rx will be easily integrated into the DDS family of clients, given the similarities in the service models of both companies.

DDS said it has implemented a communications and customer service plan to welcome Diabetes Source Rx's customers, and support them throughout the integration phase.

DDS employs more than 260 and serves more than 80,000 customers nationwide.

• Wound Care Innovations (Fort Worth, Texas) said it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire BioPharma Management Technologies (also Fort Worth), a privately held biotechnology company with a platform of patented technologies for topical pain management and resorbable orthoses.

The transaction would be structured as a share exchange pursuant to which BioPharma would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Wound Management in exchange for 5,000,000 shares of Wound Management common stock. The transaction is subject to certain contingencies, including a complete legal, financial and technical review of BioPharma by Wound Management.