A Medical Device Daily

Victhom Human Bionics (Quebec) and Otto Bock HealthCare (Duderstadt, Germany) completed a joint venture (jv) partnership agreement to make products currently being developed by Victhom's Neurobionix division.

The objective of this jv is to bring to market Victhom's neuromodulation product, the Neurostep system for the treatment of gait disorders (e.g., foot drop).

Victhom will transfer all of the assets of its Neurobionix division to a newly created vehicle concurrent with a total equity investment by Otto Bock of C$30 million ($25.48 million) in the jv. The initial investment by Otto Bock will amount to C$12.5 million and will result in the jv being owned, upon closing of this transaction, 55.6% by Otto Bock and 44.4% by Victhom. The partnership agreement also provides for additional equity contributions by Otto Bock of C$17.5 million over the next two-and-a-half years that will be mainly used to fund the development of the Neurostep System but also the development of products in other indications.

As a concurrent condition to the transaction with Otto Bock, Victhom will implement, by way of plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act, the conversion of its 7% convertible debentures in the capital amount of C$18,354,000 maturing in March 2010 into a newly created class of preferred shares, on the basis of 12.5 preferred shares (pre-consolidation) per dollar of capital converted, and the consolidation of its common shares on a 10 for 1 basis. The transfer of the assets of the Neurobionix division will also be implemented by way of the plan of arrangement.

Victhom makes bionic devices involved in the treatment of a variety of physical and physiological dysfunctions. Its Neurobionix division focuses on the development of technologies and products involving implantable devices that feature neurosensing and neurostimulation components, integrated with artificial intelligence.

In other dealmaking news:

• Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) has acquired Traxtal (Toronto), a medical technology company in the field of minimally-invasive instruments and software for image-guided intervention and therapy. Traxtal's navigation solution functions as a GPS for medical instruments, designed to make interventional radiology procedures more accurate while aiming to reduce contrast, radiation dose and interventional time. The navigation solution displays, during the procedure, the instrument's position, orientation, and trajectory on medical images such as Ultrasound or CT.

"Image-guided procedures are one of the most important breakthroughs in the healthcare industry in decades. This acquisition allows Philips to significantly enhance its abilities in this rapidly-emerging field, and will help us further realize our ambition to offer the best quality of care in the most efficient way possible," said Steve Rusckowski, CEO of Philips' Healthcare sector.

• Community Health Systems (Franklin, Tennessee) said that a subsidiary has acquired the assets of Wyoming Valley Health Care System (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania). The system includes Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, a 392-bed, full-service acute care hospital and First Hospital Wyoming Valley, a behavioral health facility located in Kingston, Pennsylvania, as well as other outpatient and ancillary services.

"We are pleased to broaden our presence in Pennsylvania and look forward to implementing our proven operating strategies to enhance healthcare services for residents of Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding communities," said Wayne Smith, chairman, president/CEO of Community Health Systems. "We are excited about working with the dedicated employees and medical staff of these facilities to build upon their longstanding tradition of providing high-quality care."

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