A Medical Device Daily

Artemis Health (Menlo Park, California), a private diagnostics company developing non-invasive prenatal diagnostic tests, said it has acquired a co-exclusive worldwide license from Stanford University (Palo Alto, California) to develop cell-free fetal DNA prenatal diagnostic tests based on research from the lab of Stephen Quake, PhD, co-chair of the department of bioengineering and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Artemis said the license expands its clinical and research program and will allow the company to develop a non-invasive prenatal blood test that accurately predicts chromosomal and genetic disorders.

"We are thrilled to expand our proprietary prenatal diagnostic platform focused on intact fetal cells to include Dr. Quake's pioneering cell-free fetal DNA analysis," said Lissa Goldenstein, president/CEO of Artemis. "We now have two complementary approaches that provide access to vital information found only in fetal DNA, which circulates in the maternal bloodstream. We believe that working in parallel, we will be able to develop non-invasive, safe and effective prenatal blood tests that accurately diagnose genetic disorders without the need for invasive tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling."

The company said the license broadens the R&D programs at Artemis, which have been based primarily on the work of Dr. Diana Bianchi for the isolation of intact fetal cells from maternal blood for advanced genetic analysis. Artemis received a co-exclusive worldwide license to a suite of intellectual property based on Quake's groundbreaking cell-free fetal DNA analysis research in the field of prenatal diagnostics, which was featured in the August issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The intellectual property license includes the use of digital polymerase chain reaction technology and shotgun sequencing to analyze cell-free fetal DNA from maternal blood, particularly for the diagnosis of fetal genetic disorders such as Down's syndrome, Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) and Patau syndrome (trisomy 13).

"The addition of cell-free fetal DNA analysis complements the comprehensive cell-based program at Artemis Health and will accelerate clinical progress, ultimately bringing the benefits of single gene, single chromosome, and whole genome testing to all pregnant women, independent of their prior risk," said Bianchi, an Artemis clinical advisory board member and the Natalie V. Zucker professor of pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology at Tufts University School of Medicine (Boston).

In other agreement/contracts news, Medsphere Systems (Carlsbad, California), the provider of Open Source healthcare IT solutions, reported the implementation of Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) capability at all eight facilities in West Virginia's network of acute, psychiatric and long-term care hospitals.

Medsphere provided Continuum Care, a pharmacy located in Barboursville, West Virginia, with secure access to the state's OpenVista electronic health record (EHR) network so that the pharmacy could provide services to five West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR) facilities: John Manchin Sr. Health Care Center, Welch Long Term Care, Lakin Hospital, Pinecrest Hospital and Hopemont Hospital. An onsite state-run pharmacy takes care of the state's other three facilities: Welch Community Hospital, Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital and William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital.

According to Medsphere, by capturing patient data and improving the information available to staff at the point of care, BCMA safeguards how patients receive medication. Each patient at a West Virginia facility wears a wristband containing a medical record number, which identifies them and their pharmaceutical requirements through electronic medication administration records. With BCMA, vital medication information such as dosage, allergies and administration times is easily accessed for the patient.