A Medical Device Daily

Toshiba Medical Systems (Tokyo) reported that via its newly formed, wholly-owned subsidiary, Toshiba Medical Visualization Systems Europe (TMVS), it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Advanced Visualization Imaging System Division (AVIS) of Barco (Kortrijk, Belgium) for an undisclosed sum.

The company said this acquisition brings in-house critical core competencies – the development of 3-D volume rendering and advanced visualization capabilities for all Toshiba modalities.

"The formation of TMVS establishes a significant multi-modality research and development center in Europe," said Kenichi Komatsu PhD, president/CEO, Toshiba Medical, "ensuring Toshiba's unfettered access to leading-edge technology in an area of the world widely acknowledged for its innovations in medicine.

The AVIS team has been conducting research, development and sales of medical 3-D visualization software products since 1991 as Voxar. For the past 10 years, Toshiba has used Voxar 3-D visualization core software in its medical imaging products and PACS.

AVIS, as part of Barco, provided advanced visualization solutions for the medical imaging and PACS markets. AVIS was founded with the acquisition of Voxar in September 2004.

Toshiaki Nakazato, chief specialist in Toshiba Medical's Research and Development Center, has been named president of TMVS. Calum Cunningham, formerly marketing director for AVIS, will be named senior VP/general manager.

"TMVS will serve as the foundation of a world-class medical research and development center in Europe," said Komatsu. "This team will help Toshiba maintain its position as a global medical imaging technology leader and to expand clinical applications research with physicians and medical imaging scientists."

Roche (Basel, Switzerland) reported that it will acquire all the shares in Swisslab (Berlin) for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2009.

Through this acquisition, Roche is seeking to expand its portfolio of fully integrated solutions for laboratory diagnostics, including information technology systems. The laboratory information system Swisslab, together with the LAURIS module, permits highly efficient management of laboratory processes and diagnostic data in large core laboratories and in specialty laboratories concerned with areas such as microbiology, blood banks, newborn screening, pathology, histology, transfusion management, genetics and HLA typing, as well as point-of-care integration and quality management.

With the growing trend towards consolidation of hospitals and laboratories, distributed, high performance laboratory information systems are becoming increasingly important, making a highly significant contribution to efficient and cost-effective laboratory diagnostics.

With the acquisition of Swisslab, Roche said it will become an international leader in the supply of software solutions for in vitro diagnostics. Roche said it will now be better able to meet its customers needs by offering – in addition to the leading Roche laboratory diagnostics systems – highly efficient integrated IT solutions and services for university laboratories, large laboratories, medical diagnostic service companies and laboratory networks.

In other dealmaking news, VisualSonics (Toronto) and Seno Medical Instruments (San Antonio) reported the official signing of a licensing agreement providing VisualSonics exclusive rights to Seno Medical's Opto-Acoustic technology for pre-clinical research.

"The application of opto-acoustic technology to our Vevo preclinical imaging platform is an exciting new area for VisualSonics," said Tom Little, president/CEO of VisualSonics, "We will be enabling researchers to push the limits of discovery as we develop tools for intracellular and molecular imaging with VisualSonics technology and Seno Medical IP."

VisualSonics will embed Seno's opto-acoustic technology in their next generation of high-frequency ultrasound platforms and this will extend their molecular imaging capability to the sub cellular level. This combination will drive the new molecular imaging utility for the next generation of pre-clinical imaging with the Vevo platform, the company said.

"Seno's pre-clinical opto-acoustic platform technology will enable researchers to non-invasively detect and monitor biological structures, functions and processes at the cellular and molecular level as well as potentially provide the ability to monitor and quantify hypoxia [oxygenated vs. deoxygenated tissue or cells], and to reveal information on tumor development, disease progression and inflammation processes that were previously unattainable," said Janet Campbell, chairman/CEO of Seno.

Seno is a device developer focused on the early detection of cancer thru the use of its opto-acoustic technology. Opto-acoustic imaging combines light and sound to produce high-resolution, high-contrast images to indicate the presence of increased blood supply and vascular structure that surround and feed a tumor.

VisualSonics develops high-resolution, ultrasound-based, in vivo micro-imaging systems designed specifically for non-invasive preclinical research.