A Medical Device Daily

Sorin Group (Milan, Italy), a developer of treatments for cardiovascular diseases, reported that it has acquired the Clearglide endoscopic vessel harvesting product line of Datascope (Montvale, New Jersey). Endoscopic vessel harvesting (EVH) devices are designed to enable less-invasive harvesting of vessels for use in coronary artery bypass grafting. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

As previously reported, Datascope had entered into an agreement to sell its endoscopic vessel harvesting product line to Sorin Group pending the closing of the $865 million acquisition of Datascope by Getinge (Stockholm, Sweden) (Medical Device Daily, Dec. 1, 2008). Under the FTC consent order, the combined company was required to divest Datascope's EVH product line.

The vessel harvesting product line will be integrated into Sorin Group's Cardiopulmonary Business Unit.

EVH procedures replace traditional open vessel harvesting, and avoid significant pain and discomfort for patients. In addition, the large incision that is required in an open vessel harvesting procedure is associated with a high rate of wound complications including dehiscence, hematoma and infection. The endoscopic approach is associated with fewer wound complications than the traditional open method.

"After conclusion in 2008 of our divestiture program, this transaction is a first step toward reinforcing our leading cardiac surgery franchises. This acquisition will be particularly exciting for Sorin Group's United States business as it will reinforce our product offering and consolidate our position as the leading provider of innovative solutions for the cardiac surgery clinical community," said Andr -Michel Ballester, CEO of the Sorin Group.

PPD (Wilmington, North Carolina) reported that it has entered into an agreement to acquire AbCRO (Sofia, Bulgaria), a contract research organization operating in Central and Eastern Europe, which the company said will further strengthen its presence in a high-growth, emerging region for clinical research.

The acquisition gains PPD immediate entry into Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia with established infrastructure and expertise, and also bolsters PPD's existing staff and operations in Poland, Russia and Ukraine. Financial details of the transaction were not discosed.

Founded in 2000, AbCRO provides a full range of Phase II to Phase IV clinical services, including clinical trial management and monitoring, patient recruitment, site identification and regulatory affairs. AbCRO employs more than 230 full-time professionals, many of whom have worked extensively with PPD over the past three years.

"Under the leadership of Dana Leff and Christa Pleasants, AbCRO has built a strong regional clinical research business and established a solid reputation in the region," said Fred Eshelman, chief executive officer of PPD. "This acquisition will strengthen our foothold in Central and Eastern Europe and enhance our ability to conduct global trials for our clients. We see many synergies with AbCRO and anticipate a relatively seamless integration, with many of the AbCRO employees already well-versed on basic PPD procedures and systems."

Leff, CEO/co-founder of AbCRO, will oversee PPD's Central and Eastern European operations. Pleasants, chairman and co-founder of AbCRO, will join PPD's clinical operations in the UK as a senior director.

PPD opened its first office in the region in 1995 and established its presence in Russia and Ukraine last year through its acquisition of InnoPharm.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and obtaining regulatory approvals, and is expected to close on or about the end of the first quarter.

PPD is a global contract research organization providing discovery, development and post-approval services as well as compound partnering programs. Its clients and partners include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, academic and government organizations.