A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Nanomedicine company Nanobiotix (Paris) said that its collaboration with Malaysian Biotechnology (BiotechCorp; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), will initially focus on developing point-of-care (POC) diagnostics and drug delivery systems for tropical diseases, such as malaria. Nanobiotix says that its technology platform, nanoXray, is expected to be turned 'on' and 'off' outside the body to selectively treat a variety of cancers. BiotechCorp has acquired an exclusive, global license to a Nanobiotix nanotechnology platform for non-cancer purposes. Three BiotechCorp scientists will take up residence at Nanobiotix for a year to undergo the technology transfer training.

"We are proud to be the first partner of Nanobiotix outside of its cancer focus," said BiotechCorp's CEO Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood. "We firmly believe that the opportunity to help save millions of lives is in fact a near-term possibility as a result of this collaboration between BiotechCorp and Nanobiotix. Additionally, this collaboration is a significant testimony to the readiness of the Malaysian biotechnology industry in commercializing science to market, whilst addressing challenges in our part of the world."

In other agreements/contracts news:

• GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, England) reported a distribution and technology collaboration agreement with Living Independently Group (New York), a provider of telecare and passive monitoring systems used to assist in the care of seniors.

GE will distribute and co-market Living Independently's QuietCare products globally. The companies will use GE's Global Research Center and its advanced work in clinical parameters and monitoring algorithms to drive innovation in the field of remote patient monitoring and diagnostics. GE said it would also take a minority ownership stake in Living Independently. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

QuietCare is a behavioral remote patient monitoring system that uses wireless sensors to non-intrusively track the daily patterns of seniors' activities. QuietCare alerts caregivers to behavioral changes that may signal potential health issues or emergency situations. QuietCare is used in assisted living facilities, senior communities, and private homes. GE's Clinical Systems business provides technologies for patient monitoring.

• Clarient (Munich, Germany) and Definiens (Aliso Viejo, California) reported that they established a strategic partnership to employ a series of image analysis platforms for Clarient's in-house research and development, and web-based customer portal PATHSiTE.

Under a five year collaborative agreement, Clarient and Definiens plan to develop and commercialize tools that will help to evaluate quantitative biomarkers that predict cancer treatment response to targeted therapies.

Clarient processes large numbers of tissue samples for biomarkers from customers worldwide for both clinical decision-making and biopharmaceutical development. These tissue samples are then converted into high-resolution digital images that are managed and analyzed over Clarient's PATHSiTE portal.

The partnership with Definiens involves seamlessly integrating a wide range of image analysis tools into Clarient's existing infrastructure.

• Luminex (Austin, Texas) and BD (Franklin Lakes, New Jersey), through its BD Diagnostics-TriPath platform, reported the signing of a development and supply agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, BD Diagnostics-TriPath will develop, market and sell new biomarker-based diagnostic tests for certain cancers using Luminex's multiplexing xMAP Technology platform.

• Block Imaging International (Lansing, Michigan) has formed a strategic partnership with Dicom Solutions (Irvine, California) and will now carry a new line of medical imaging digital solutions. Block Imaging will provide its customers with PACS, RIS, DICOM to CD, CR and archive solutions from Dicom Solutions. Dicom Solutions will in turn offer its customers Block Imaging's inventory of refurbished and pre-owned medical imaging equipment, such as MRI, CT and DR.

• NeoGenomics Laboratories (Fort Myers, Florida) a reference lab specializing in high-complexity, cancer-specific testing, reported an exclusive agreement with Response Genetics (Los Angeles) to offer its ResponseDX: Colon and ResponseDX: Lung tests nationwide.

ResponseDX: Colon and ResponseDX: Lung are proprietary PCR-based tests in a cost-effective panel format which serve to help oncologists make optimal therapeutic treatment decisions for patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

NeoGenomics will be the exclusive national clinical reference laboratory authorized to offer Response Genetics' tests as a complement to Response Genetics' newly formed sales team.

Response Genetics' ResponseDX panels include analysis of the K-ras (KRAS) mutation, gene expression profiling of RRM1 and up to three other patent-protected genes: ERCC1, TS, and EGFR. KRAS is a strong predictor of whether patients will respond or not respond to the common treatment regimens for these types of cancers.

KRAS is becoming a testing standard for patients with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer. Likewise, expression results of the other genes in the ResponseDX panels can help oncologists choose among several other standard chemotherapy regimens to treat their patients specifically by the biology of their disease which allows for a more targeted intervention.

• Clarient (Aliso Viejo, California) has entered into an agreement with the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) School of Medicine's Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Resource Laboratory (Flow Cytometry Lab) for a multilevel educational and technical training program. The program is intended to provide the technical and professional staff at Clarient with the necessary skills to provide superior clinical service using both standard and non-standard assays.

The agreement offers quarterly on-site training by Flow Cytometry Lab personnel, which will include evaluating current procedures and education in specific routine processes, guidelines for clinical evaluation of hematologic malignancies, quality control and quality assurance procedures, and the development of programs to assure compliance with the State of California and the College of American Pathologists educational and professional requirements. In addition, Flow Cytometry Lab professionals will provide on demand consulting and technical guidance regarding equipment and educational and process issues, and will host an annual seminar on current technological topics of interest.

• Blood Cell Storage (BCSI; Seattle) reported that it has signed an option agreement to supply pH testing inserts to CaridianBCT (Lakewood, Colorado) for manufacturing into platelet storage bags for their blood collection systems.

BCSI has received permission from, and is working with CaridianBCT to develop a bag to perform the necessary evaluations suitable for FDA clearance using this bag with their integrated pH measuring probe in the U.S. The BCSI integrated pH measuring system for platelet concentrates allows non-invasive pH measuring at the blood centers and just prior to transfusion in the hospital. A reliable, fast and non-invasive pH detection method could assist inventory management as well as help to ensure that patients receive optimum quality platelet transfusions.

• Instrumentation Laboratory (IL; Lexington, Massachusetts) reported that it has been awarded a three-year contract for its critical care portfolio with Premier Purchasing Partners (San Diego), the group purchasing unit of the Premier healthcare network. This is the fifth contract Premier has awarded IL since 1998.

The contract covers IL's portfolio of critical care analyzers, reagents, consumables and service, including IL's flagship product, the GEM Premier 4000 analyzer for blood gas, electrolyte and metabolite and integrated CO-Oximetry testing.