A Medical Device Daily

Cardiak (Oxford, UK), a company that has developed and pre-clinically tested a fully implantable heart-assist device, is on the block. Following discussions with its shareholders and advisors, the company's board of directors is now seeking a sale of its assets via a bid process.

The akpulsor heart-assist device has a number of novel features such as low trauma implantation (with favorable risk/benefit profile, the company said); no direct contact with the blood, avoiding the requirement for anticoagulant therapy; and no leads passing through the skin, limiting the risk of infection.

Cardiak originally was a spin-out company from Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust.

The board said this sale represents "an excellent opportunity to purchase an innovative technology" comprising:

An intellectual property portfolio that includes three key patents filed in many key territories covering a novel axial shift impeller pump and its associated use as an extra aortic counterpulsation device.

A number of prototype implantable extra-aortic counter-pulsation devices, power supplies and driver systems which have demonstrated excellent hemodynamic performance in direct comparison with the current performance standard for counter-pulsation; the intra-aortic balloon pump.

Technical details and specifications relating to the akpulsor device and the driver technology

Cardiak brand image, Internet domains and trademarks.

The board said the assets "would be well-suited to integration into a company seeking a complementary/line extension product to an existing range of cardiovascular devices or looking to access the Class III heart failure market."

Interested parties are directed to make their formal bids to the company by the closing date of Nov. 7.

Long-retention-time contrast agents eyed

Philips Research (Eindhoven, the Netherlands) and the University of Urbino (Urbino, Italy) say they will jointly research the encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticle contrast agents inside living blood cells to prolong the retention time of these agents in the blood.

Injected as free particles, magnetic nanoparticle contrast agents are quickly excreted from the blood via the patient's liver, which limits their application.

Philips said the contrast agent techniques being developed by the University of Urbino are based on magnetic nanoparticles that are captured inside the patient's own red blood cells, where they remain protected from the body's excretion mechanisms for much longer periods – perhaps as long as 120 days, which is the typical lifetime of healthy red blood cells.

The parties said a key feature of the university's technology is that it could allow the preparation of relatively large volumes of contrast agent-loaded blood.

Philips Research said it will take samples of this contrast agent-loaded blood and test its effectiveness in the company's scanners, using its knowledge of the physics involved to optimize the scan parameters.

The collaboration will last for about 2-1/2 years, with expected initial applications in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

During radio frequency (RF) ablation, a catheter is inserted into the patient's heart and the tissue responsible for propagating abnormal electrical signals through the heart muscle is destroyed using heat from a RF field generated at the tip of the catheter.

Philips said encapsulated magnetic nanoparticles injected into a patient's bloodstream could be used to highlight the volume of blood in the different heart chambers during such procedures.

Turkish distributor for Misonix

Misonix (Farmingdale, New York) said it has entered into a new, three-year, exclusive distribution agreement with Ultra Ultrasonik (Ankara, Turkey), for the distribution of the SonaStar Ultrasonic Surgical Aspirator, the BoneScalpel Ultrasonic Bone Cutter, and the SonicOne Ultrasonic Wound Debrider.

The agreement provides Ultra Ultrasonik with the rights to sell in Turkey and includes minimum purchase requirements.

Ultra Ultrasonik is a relatively new company formed by industry veterans in Turkey who have a history of marketing the latest medical devices and capital equipment, with special emphasis on neurosurgery, spine surgery, oncology and urology. They have represented companies competitive to Misonix in previous endeavors, the U.S. firm said, so they have knowledge of the company's markets.

"Misonix is pleased to welcome Ultra Ultrasonik to our growing distribution network in Europe and is excited about the market knowledge and demonstrated sales skills that they bring to the equation. We know the past successes of Ultra Ultrasonik's ownership as distributors of advanced medical equipment in Turkey," said President/CEO Michael McManus Jr.

The SonaStar is used by neuro and general surgeons for quick and efficient removal of both hard and soft tumors while sparing most vessels. OsteoSculpt bone-sculpting technology can be employed with the SonaStar to safely remove osseous structures, providing access to the surgical site.

The BoneScalpel is a tissue-specific osteotomy device capable of making precise cuts through bone and hard tissue while largely preserving delicate soft-tissue structures, while the SonicOne is an ultrasonic wound care system that offers tissue-specific debridement and cleansing for effective removal of devitalized tissue and fibrin deposits while sparing viable cellular structures.