A Medical Device Daily Artimplant (Vastra Frolunda, Sweden) and Small Bone Innovations (SBi; New York) have agreed to amend and consolidate the terms of five different license, supply and distribution agreements relating to the Artelon line of biodegradable spacers.

The agreements have been converted to non-exclusive in exchange for lower minimum sales commitments from SBi, and Artimplant has committed to support SBi with additional clinical documentation in exchange for a higher share of profit from SBi sales. The revisions are retroactive to Jan. 1.

Artimplant and SBi are parties to separate agreements covering the Artelon CMC Spacer, CMC Spacer Arthro, MTP Spacer, STT Spacer and DRU Spacer. Under the renegotiation, those agreements have been incorporated into a single new, 5-year agreement.

The changes release SBi from its bi-annual purchase and sales obligations under the original agreements, as well as releasing the company from its obligation to purchase regulatory files from Artimplant. However, the companies said the increased flexibility and anticipated growth of Artelon Spacer products with higher returns make the changes "very attractive" for both firms.

Artimplant CEO Hans Rosen said, "We are very pleased to improve both margin and flexibility in our business relationship with SBi. The revised agreement will create a more efficient working relationship where the respective strength of the partners is better utilized."

He added, "SBi is our primary business partner for resurfacing of small bones and joints. Artimplant will increase its efforts to support the growth of SBi sales in a long-term, prosperous relationship."

Anthony Viscogliosi, chairman/CEO of SBI, said, "The new agreement provides increased incentive for both our companies to continue to build the Artelon brand. To date, the Artelon platform has been an important part of SBi's success, and this . . . agreement promises to strengthen Artelon's role as a key element of our upper limb portfolio."

In other agreements/contracts news:

• LifeSync (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), a wireless ECG data communication system provider, has been awarded a multi-year contract for the sale of the LifeSync Wireless ECG System and disposable ECG LeadWear products by MedAssets Supply Chain Systems (Alpharetta, Georgia), effective Feb. 1.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will collaborate on customized marketing promotions to MedAssets customers.

"The LifeSync Wireless ECG System3 received top reviews from our members during our annual Technology Forum, where new and innovative solutions focusing on improving patient care are evaluated," said Jim Schwob, RN, director of clinical supply chain at MedAssets.

LifeSync develops patient safety and hospital productivity products that can deliver better patient outcomes and lower costs for hospitals. The company's Wireless ECG System is the only high-fidelity, cable-free system available that can acquire and transmit physiological parameters to any monitoring infrastructure using single-patient use sensors.

• QuantRx Biomedical (Doylestown, Pennsylvania) said it has entered into a technology licensing agreement with Church & Dwight (Princeton, New Jersey). Under the terms of the agreement, Church & Dwight acquired exclusive worldwide rights to use certain QuantRx technology related to a jointly developed at-home diagnostic test for the consumer over-the-counter market.

QuantRx said it expects that the unspecified product will be launched by Church & Dwight under its First Response brand and will be available at the retail level in 2Q09. Under the long-term agreement, QuantRx has received a commercialization fee and will receive royalties on net sales of the product.

Dr. William Fleming, president of QuantRx' Diagnostic Group, said, "This partnership helps underscore our ability to rapidly apply our technological expertise to meet the market needs of our partners. It also provides QuantRx with a long-term revenue stream, while we continue developing a robust proprietary product pipeline to bring innovative products to the point-of-care market."

• Sequenom (San Diego) reported a collaboration with Obstetrix Medical Group (Sunrise, Florida), to provide the Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine (SCMM) with samples for a study to further evaluate its new, noninvasive prenatal test to assess Down syndrome based on its circulating cell-free fetal nucleic acid SEQureDx technology.

Obstetrix is a national physician group practice of maternal-fetal medicine specialists that is affiliated with Pediatrix Medical Group.

This prospective multi-center feasibility study, "Noninvasive Screening for Fetal Aneuploidy: A New Maternal Plasma Marker," is designed as a Laboratory Developed Test (LDT) validation study and will evaluate up to 5,000 samples. To facilitate the LDT validation of the SEQureDx Trisomy 21 Test, Sequenom said it will be collaborating with physicians practicing as part of Obstetrix as well as other maternal-fetal medicine practices.

According to the study protocol, Obstetrix will collect clinical maternal plasma samples prior to performing an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) procedure. SCMM will then compare results for the detection of Down syndrome using its prototype test of maternal blood samples to the related amniocentesis or CVS results.

Thomas Garite, MD, of Obstetrix Medical Group, will oversee the study.

• SpineMark (San Diego), a spinal care services organization that partners with hospitals and physicians to develop spine Centers of Excellence, has entered into a partnership with Healthplace America (Lisle, Illinois) to deliver spinal care through what it said is the first comprehensive surgery benefit management solution, the Healthplace Surgery Benefit.

A pilot program involving three sites was launched in January, allowing both companies to measure the success of the program. All Healthplace Surgery Benefit members will have access to SpineMark's Centers of Excellence facilities.

"The comprehensive, evolving nature of spinal care coupled with today's demand, led us to seek out a partner who could provide high quality spinal care under a protocol-driven, outcomes based integrated delivery system," said Ken Erickson, Healthplace America founder/CEO. "SpineMark's model is the perfect complement to our network of spinal and orthopedic care."

The Healthplace Surgery Benefit is an addition to existing employer health plans, providing members access to U.S. healthcare facilities and surgeons who offer lower, fixed-rate pricing for the opportunity to increase their patient base.

• EngagementHealth (Westchester, Illinois), a provider of employer wellness programs, reported the launch of its comprehensive disease prevention and health promotion programs with the City of East Moline, Illinois. All of the city's benefits-eligible employees, retirees and spouses have been invited to participate in the incentive-based wellness programs including biometric screenings, health counseling calls, and individualized targeted risk programs.

Ted Theophilos, CEO of EngagementHealth said, "Our programs are ideally suited for municipalities that need a self funded wellness solution to significantly lower healthcare expenses and improve employee and retiree health."

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