A Medical Device Daily

GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, UK) and Hansen Medical (Mountain View, California) reported a collaboration to promote the use of GE Healthcare's imaging technologies and Hansen Medical's robotic catheter technologies for electrophysiology (EP) procedures. In addition, the companies expect to pursue integrated product offerings in connection with their collaboration.

The partnership enables the companies to promote the compatibility of the GE Innova X-ray imaging platform with Hansen's Sensei robotic catheter system. The companies said they seek to further augment the capabilities of electrophysiologists to perform EP procedures.

"GE Healthcare is committed to the success of leading technologies including the Hansen flexible robotics platform," said Jayant Saha, general manager of interventional marketing at GE Healthcare. "We are committed to improving the clinical experience of the electrophysiologist and see this strategic collaboration as a key component of reaching that goal. We believe that this partnership is a key strategic choice for our imaging and electrophysiology businesses."

"We strongly believe in the synergistic importance of integrating imaging and robotics technology and have entered into this collaboration to bring this clinical value to our electrophysiologists and their patients," said Frederic Moll, MD, CEO of Hansen Medical. "We are pleased to collaborate with GE Healthcare, a global leader in medical imaging, in this important collaboration."

In other agreements/contracts news:

• NxStage Medical (Lawrence, Massachusetts) said it signed a five-year exclusive distribution agreement with Kimal (Uxbridge, UK) for the promotion, sale, delivery and service of the NxStage System One and certain of the company's in-center products in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. This agreement encompasses all three NxStage markets – home, critical care and in-center – and marks the company's first international expansion for the System One outside of the U.S. and Canada.

The NxStage System One and PureFlow SL dialysate preparation system will be available to dialysis centers and hospitals throughout the UK and Ireland exclusively through Kimal. Kimal also has the option to make Medisystems bloodlines and ButtonHole needles available to its customers in these regions.

• Ziehm Imaging (Westchester, Illinois), a provider of mobile imaging solutions for healthcare, and BrainLab (Munich, Germany), a manufacturer of software-driven systems for targeted, less-invasive medical treatments, reported that they have extended their development and marketing agreement for the integration of mobile 3-D C-arms and CAS to North America.

In 2002, Ziehm and BrainLAB jointly pioneered the development of DICOM-based CAS on 2-D fluoroscopic images. In 2007, both companies established full compatibility of Ziehm Vision2 Vario 3-D – Ziehm Imaging's C-arm – with all mobile BrainLAB platforms for 3D intra-operative imaging in Europe (Medical Device Daily, Sept. 27, 2007).

According to the companies, the combination of both technologies offers surgeons better orientation in the OR and enables minimally invasive surgeries with less radiation and higher accuracy. Ziehm Vision2 Vario 3-D and BrainLAB CAS platforms are designed to assist with a wide variety of medical procedures, including spine and trauma, cranio-maxillofacial and neurosurgery.

The Ziehm Vision2 Vario 3-D allows surgeons to obtain a volumetric 3-D dataset and display sagittal, coronal and axial views intra-operatively. These additional 3-D views may assist surgeons in assessing the accuracy of pedicle screw placement and other spine and orthopedic fixation devices, among other applications, the company noted. While the Vario 3-D can be used as a conventional 2-D mobile C-arm during fluoroscopic interventions, it can also be used at any time during surgery to obtain additional 3-D views.

BrainLAB says its technology can save the surgeon time by automatically registering the intra-operative 3-D images without surgeon interaction.