A Medical Device Daily

SurModics (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), a provider of surface modification and drug delivery technologies to the healthcare industry, reported the initiation by Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, New Jersey) of a Phase IIb clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of SurModics' I-vation TA in patients with diabetic macular edema.

The initiation of this Phase IIb trial triggers a milestone payment of $9 million from Merck to SurModics under the companies' license and research collaboration agreement reported in June 2007.

The I-vation Intravitreal Implant utilizes a system with the potential to deliver drug on a sustained release basis for up to two years; however, the implant being utilized in this study is designed to elute the drug for nearly 12 months.

Currently, the majority of treatments being developed for retinal disease require repeat injections into the eye every one to three months. Replacing multiple injections with a single implant providing long-term, controlled drug release could represent a significant advance in therapeutic treatment due to potentially improved patient compliance and the potential for reduced risk of side effects vs. intravitreal injections.

SurModics is a provider of surface modification and drug delivery technologies to the healthcare industry.

In other grants/contracts news:

• Allscripts (Chicago), a provider of clinical software and information solutions that physicians use to improve healthcare, reported that it will offer qualified medical staff members of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian (Newport Beach, California) preferred pricing on the company's Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) solutions.

Hoag Hospital, in its commitment to enable excellent quality care and services, is leveraging recent Stark and anti-kickback reforms to assist Orange County physicians in the adoption of electronic health records in their private practices. Hoag said it believes it is important to promote open, interconnected, interoperable EHR applications that help improve the quality of patient care and efficiency in the delivery of health care to patients.

To facilitate this, Hoag has signed an agreement with Allscripts to subsidize its EHR-PM solutions for independent members of its medical staff, a major step in the hospital's community-wide initiative to electronically link hospital services, physicians and other healthcare providers to offer truly integrated patient care.

Hoag staff physicians who select Allscripts will access the Electronic Health Record and Practice Management solutions over the Internet via application service provider (ASP) hosting and support. The ASP model provides a simple, affordable means of delivering vital patient information to caregivers without the up-front costs of purchasing new equipment to host the solution themselves.

Because the ASP model also speeds deployment, it is becoming an increasingly important option for mid-size and independent practices.

Allscripts is a provider of clinical software, connectivity and information solutions that physicians use to improve healthcare.

• RaySearch Laboratories (Stockholm, Sweden) and Philips Medical Systems (Bothell, Washington) have signed an extension of the existing IMRT agreement covering a new treatment planning product for VMAT treatments.

VMAT (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy) is a new, advanced form of IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) where the treatment machine rotates around the patient while the treatment beam is turned on. This concept enables faster treatment delivery compared with traditional IMRT where the patient is irradiated from a few selected angles. At the same time, treatment quality remains similar or can be improved compared with IMRT which is the current golden standard.

The product will be integrated in Philips' Pinnacle3 treatment planning system and will be marketed under the brand name SmartArc. A prototype already has been integrated in Pinnacle3 and will be demonstrated at major trade shows during the remainder of 2008. The final product is expected to be available for clinicians during the first half of 2009.

"The VMAT concept was recently introduced by the hardware vendors," said Johan L f, president of RaySearch. "It has already created tremendous interest in the industry, so this product has a very large potential for RaySearch."

He added, "This is also an area that suits us exceptionally well with our deep optimization expertise and market leading software platform. The results I have seen so far from the current prototype are very promising both in terms of treatment quality and delivery time as well as optimization speed."

RaySearch Laboratories is a medical technology company that develops advanced software solutions for improved radiation therapy of cancer.

• River Logic (Dallas), a provider of integrated business planning solutions, reported the formation of a strategic alliance with Honour Healthcare (Atlanta), a healthcare consulting firm that helps hospitals from strategy to implementation.

Honour Healthcare, a Newmark Knight Frank (New York) company, will use River Logic's Enterprise Optimizer to provide enterprise-level integrated business planning solutions for clients within the healthcare industry.

River Logic said Enterprise Optimizer is the only performance management software that aligns metrics, targets and execution requirements with strategy and financials. Through real-world integrated business planning, the solution identifies decisions that have the greatest impact on financial performance by providing a unified model of the entire enterprise.