A Medical Device Daily

The Immune Tolerance Institute (ITI; San Francisco) and Sequenom (San Diego) reported a collaboration to develop an advanced newborn screening test for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) based on the pioneering work of Jennifer Puck, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

A successful feasibility study was recently completed demonstrating the adaptability of Puck's RT-PCR screening assay for SCID diagnosis on the MassARRAY platform developed by Sequenom.

"This collaboration goes to the very heart of ITI's mission by bringing together the best of industry and academia in order to solve a complex medical problem," said Louis Matis, ITI president/CEO. "Severe combined immunodeficiency is curable by bone marrow transplantation if it is detected early. The goal of our collaboration is to make newborn screening for this rare but deadly disease a reality and alleviate the terrible suffering for these infants and their families."

"We are very pleased to collaborate with the Immune Tolerance Institute, UCSF and Dr. Puck to significantly improve outcomes for newborns afflicted with devastating SCID," said Harry Stylli, PhD, president/CEO of Sequenom. "This application is reflective of the broad applicability of our MassARRAY system and is in line with our goal of increasing Sequenom's reach in the field of molecular diagnostics."

"Although universal newborn screening for metabolic conditions is well established, screening for immune disorders is new," said Puck, a professor in the department of pediatrics and the Institute for Human Genetics at UCSF, and program director of the Pediatric Clinical Research Center within the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

She added, "Immunologists and public health professionals have recognized the value of SCID screening, but a high-throughput, sensitive, specific and cost-effective test is needed. This collaboration between UCSF, ITI and Sequenom is an ideal way to translate my laboratory research on T-cell receptor excision circles into the clinic."

In other agreements/contracts news:

• Aegis Analytical (Lafayette, Colorado) said that a comprehensive partnership agreement has been signed with Excellis Consulting (Devon, Pennsylvania), an IT consulting company specializing in business and integration services for FDA regulated industries.

Through the partnership, the Excellis team will work with Aegis' life sciences customers to provide the advice and professional services necessary for a successful implementation of Discoverant, the industry's leading on-demand data aggregation and analytics software solution.

• Premier Purchasing Partners (Charlotte, North Carolina) reported new agreements in three categories: diagnostic and interventional radiology, peripheral and biliary stents and electrophysiology.

In the diagnostic and interventional radiology portfolio, contracts were awarded to Bard Peripheral Vascular (Tempe, Arizona); Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts); and Cook Medical (Bloomington, Indiana).

In the peripheral and biliary stents portfolio, contracts were awarded to Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Illinois); Boston Scientific and ev3 Endovascular (Plymouth, Minnesota).

Effective Jan. 1, the 13-month agreements are available to acute-care and continuum-of-care members of the Premier healthcare alliance.

For electrophysiology products, the company signed deals with the Bard Electrophysiology Division of C. R. Bard (Lowell, Massachusetts) and Boston Scientific.

Effective Dec. 1, 2008, the 36-month agreements are available to acute-care and continuum-of-care members of the Premier healthcare alliance.

• Spheris (Franklin, Tennessee) has renewed its agreement with VHA (Irving, Texas), the national health care alliance, to provide VHA members with a full range of clinical documentation technologies and industry-leading outsource services.

Spheris has been a VHA contracted supplier for clinical documentation services since 2002. Under the terms of the new agreement, Spheris will be one of two VHA-preferred medical transcription providers through December 2011.