A Medical Device Daily

The recent staging of Medical Fair Asia, the International Exhibition on Hospital, Pharmaceutical, Medical & Rehabilitation Equipment & Supplies, attracted more visitors than ever before, according to conference organizers Messe Düsseldorf Asia.

Just over 6,000 attendees from 50 countries took part in the meeting in Singapore to view and order the latest equipment and supplies shown by some 370 exhibitors from 32 nations.

Messe Düsseldorf Asia, part of the company that produces the world's largest medical trade show, MEDICA, held in Dusseldorf, Germany every November, said the 10% visitor increase at Medical Fair Asia 2008 indicates the growing need for an event dedicated specifically to the medical and health care sectors in Asia.

The trade fair was held concurrently with OS+H Asia 2008, the 6th Occupational Safety + Health Exhibition for Asia.

"We expect even greater growth in the future in connection with the expansion and importance of this industry in this region," said Gernot Ringling, managing director of Messe Düsseldorf Asia.

About 35% of the visitors at Medical Fair Asia 2008 came from outside of Singapore. Southeast Asia (excluding Singapore) accounted for the majority of the overseas visitors, with strong representation from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

On the exhibitor side, the trade fair included country group exhibits from Australia, Austria, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan.

According to a survey conducted onsite, 85% of the visitors said they were pleased with the range of products and services on display at Medical Fair Asia. About 60% said they were likely to purchase some of the products/services on display and 66% indicated that they would place their orders either at the exhibition or within one year.

Exhibitors also voiced their satisfaction with their participation in the trade fair. Hutchinson Sante from France exhibited for the first time and Commercial and Marketing Director Patrice Fleau noted, "We met many distributors from the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, as well as from South Asia, who have shown tremendous interest in our product."

Ingeborg Biegler, managing director of a company that exhibited within the Austrian Pavilion, remarked: "We have received a lot of interest from potential distributors in Singapore. Overall, the quality of the visitors has been excellent."

BCtect test is launched in India

DiaGenic (Oslo, Norway) and Applied Biosystems (Foster City, California) reported the launch in India of BCtect, a blood-based test for early detection of breast cancer. The test searches for a unique gene expression signature identified by DiaGenic using a custom TaqMan Array manufactured for DiaGenic by Applied Biosystems.

India was chosen as the first country for the introduction of BCtect after successful completion of a large study in the country. The DiaGenic BCtect test addresses what the company said is "a significant medical need in India," where breast cancer is the second-leading cause of death among women.

"The lack of a coordinated national screening program means that breast cancer is typically detected at a late stage, resulting in high mortality rates compared to Western countries," DiaGenic said. Last year alone, nearly 100,000 women in the country died from the disease. A key problem, DiaGenic said, has been the detection of only 10% of cases at an early stage, which lags far behind Western countries, where detection rates reach as high as 65%.

Clinical studies performed on a group of Indian women by DiaGenic have shown that the test can detect tumors early and accurately, in particular among younger (pre-menopausal) women and those with dense breasts.

The DiaGenic BCtect test will be marketed in India through Religare SRL (formerly known as SRL Ranbaxy), the largest laboratory chain in Southeast Asia. CEO Sanjeev Chaudhry, MD, predicts high demand for the DiaGenic test. "We believe that BCtect will provide the perfect incentive for women to take charge of their health and undergo regular check-ups."

DiaGenic launched BCtect at a special event in New Delhi. CEO Erik Christensen, MD, PhD, said that the company decided to launch the test in India because of the interest generated by its large clinical study across the country, which confirmed that the test's gene signature is unaffected by ethnic variation.

"We hope that by introducing a test that uses peripheral blood rather than tissue from the actual breast, more women will be encouraged to come forward for testing," said Christensen. "In addition, we see BCtect filling a gap where mammography is not readily available."

Praveen Sharma, PhD, co-founder of DiaGenic, said, "The results from our Indian study showed that the gene set, previously identified in Scandinavian and U.S. cohorts, also had similar good diagnostic and predictive performance in the Indian population. BCtect is not affected by ethnic variation or menopausal state of the patient, allowing for widespread use to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage."

The TaqMan Array manufactured for DiaGenic by Applied Biosystems consists of 96 TaqMan Gene Expression Assays pre-loaded multiple times on a 384-well micro fluidic card. These 384 simultaneous real-time PCR reactions are performed without the need to use liquid-handling robots or multichannel pipettors.

Canada approves Acticoat Flex dressing

Nucryst Pharmaceuticals (Wakefield, Massachusetts), a manufacturer of medical products that fight infection and inflammation, and the Advanced Wound Management division of Smith & Nephew (S&N; London) reported that Health Canada granted marketing approval for the Acticoat Flex barrier dressing for wounds that require up to seven days of sustained antimicrobial activity.

Acticoat Flex is a new addition to the Acticoat family of barrier dressings coated with Nucryst's Silcryst nanocrystalline silver technology. Acticoat dressings, which are used extensively for serious wounds and burns, are licensed to and sold by S&N in more than 30 countries.

The companies said Acticoat Flex "simplifies the dressing of wounds with its unique elastic conformable design that easily contours to surfaces, including difficult-to-protect articulating regions such as knee or elbow joints."

Thomas Gardner, Chairman/CEO of Nucryst, said, "This regulatory approval and the proposed launch by Smith & Nephew of Acticoat Flex is the latest result of the successful partnership between Nucryst and Smith & Nephew to provide advanced antimicrobial protection to acute trauma and burn patients, as well as to patients with chronic wounds."

"Acticoat Flex ... represents our commitment in supplying the correct tools for healthcare professionals, to help reduce the risk of healthcare-acquired infection," said Joe Woody, president of S&N Wound Management. "This product launch is a key to our focus on infection management, one of the three focused elements of [our] business unit strategy along with exudate management and negative pressure wound therapy."

Acticoat dressings with Nucryst's proprietary Silcryst nanocrystalline silver coatings deliver rapid antimicrobial activity, thereby providing what the company terms "an improved healing environment."