Medical Device Dailys

Siemens Healthcare (Erlangen, Germany) said it will set up its European research center for molecular diagnostics in Cologne, Germany, moving out of the Bayer Technology Services campus in nearby Leverkusen.

The move is part of the heavy lifting as Siemens integrates the operations of Bayer Diagnostics that it bought two years ago for $5.3 billion, catapulting the radiology giant to the top ranks of in vitro diagnostics competitors (Medical Device Daily, July 5, 2006).

The European center in Cologne specializes in developing innovative biochips, the lab-on-chip tests that use a combination of microfluidics, electro-chemical reactions and diverse sensors to determine the presence of biomarkers linked to specific disease states.

Siemens set out to become a one-stop shop for medical diagnosis by adding to its established line of radiology and imaging products the emerging bio-chemical technologies that promise a more personalized medicine by quickly screening for diseases and then tailoring therapies to address specific patient conditions.

Siemens moved quickly over the course of a year, spending $14 billion to purchase Diagnostic Products Corp., Bayer Diagnostics and Dade Behring, which were integrated into the Siemens Medical division.

The company reports the division's income up 20% to €9.8 billion ($15.2 billion) and the group's profits up 34% at €1.3 billion ($2 billion).

Hospital attaches X-rays to patient health card

In other Siemens-related news, one of Germany's largest hospitals, Klinikum Chemnitz (Chemnitz, Germany), reported that it has integrated radiology services with a patient's electronic health record, using one of the company's systems.

Radiology images, as well as diagnosis and corresponding findings, are merged in a single record with demographic and administrative data for an individual patient who may have received treatment at any of the 22 clinics run by Klinikum Chemnitz in a region that includes Leipzig and Dresden.

Klinikum Chemnitz is one of the Europe's only medical centers to be accredited by Joint Commission International (Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois).

Siemens Medical supplied and implemented the system, including the software for radiology information communication and the Soarian eHealth Solution for the electronic health record.

Patient consent is required to start the automatic data flow which is accessible only to authorized healthcare professionals on a secure system, essential in Germany that features the toughest data protection laws in Europe and has a ministry dedicated to enforcing the rules.

Crossing institutional borders with electronic records "offers cost-cutting potentials to the entire network optimal communication, a basic requirement for smooth workflows between service providers," said Dr. Olaf Schlimpert, head of the medical information technology department at Klinikum Chemnitz.

"In the future, not only institutional borders, but also the interfaces between outpatient, inpatient and rehab treatment will disappear altogether," he said.

Doing business in Ukraine is symposium focus

Ukraine's fast-growing healthcare and pharmaceuticals market, which posted 20%+ growth in 2006-2007, took center stage at a symposium held for U.S. business interests in Washington near the end of May.

The "21st Century Pharmaceutical Production and Health Care Research & Delivery in the Commonwealth of Independent States" symposium was held May 28 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Washington, exploring medical and pharmaceutical business opportunities now emerging in Ukraine and elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

MaxWell USA organized and hosted the day-long event. MaxWell USA is a subsidiary of MaxWell Biocorporation, an international medical and pharmaceutical company based in Washington. MaxWell said its focus is on increasing the life expectancy and improving the quality of life in Ukraine and "other underserved emerging healthcare markets in the former Soviet Union."

The MaxWell symposium featured concurrent research and business tracks and a keynote address by former Pennsylvania congressman and Ukraine proponent Curt Weldon. It drew nearly 150 attendees and speakers from the medical, business, legal and NGO communities in the U.S., Ukraine and Russia.

"Given the ... enthusiasm of the many scientists and business professionals who contributed to our symposium, I am optimistic that our work in Ukraine and beyond will progress rapidly," said MaxWell Biocorporation founder/President/CEO Dr. Kenneth Alibek.

He highlighted the "knowledge-sharing" between the U.S. and Ukraine seen since Ukrainian independence in 1991, and forecast "significant opportunities" for U.S. companies and healthcare institutions to expand manufacturing facilities in Ukraine, and for the U.S. to provide direction for and training on clinical care programs.

Paul Dyck, deputy assistant secretary for Europe at the U.S. Department of Commerce, emphasized the U.S. government's commitment to helping American companies contribute to Ukraine's public health and economic development through strategic investment, noting that U.S. investment in that country totals $1.4 billion.

"American involvement will help bring innovation, best practices, intellectual property protection, and new technology to underserved areas of the former Soviet Union," Dyck said.

Oleh Shamshur, Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., cited the social and economic returns from healthcare investment in the Ukraine. "With Ukraine's accession to membership in the World Trade Organization and MaxWell's new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical production facility in Ukraine, there is a swelling tide of medical, research and business cooperation," he said.

During the symposium business track, presenters offered insights on how business is done in Ukraine, and emphasized MaxWell's capacity for facilitating market entry and guiding partners through Ukraine's often-challenging regulatory environment, both key to successful project development.

Many healthcare institutions have pledged to share knowledge and provide training to Ukrainian physicians. One such cooperative education program for Ukrainian physicians is sponsored by the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Representatives from Baker Hostetler, Squire Sanders & Dempsey, and the Russian-Ukrainian Legal Group spoke about successfully conducting business in Ukraine, including cross-border tax issues, corporate income tax, transfer pricing and strategies for addressing double taxation; harmonization of Ukrainian law with European Union law and WTO requirements; and strategies for mitigating business risk.

The symposium's medical track showcased the high rate of morbidity and mortality in Ukraine vs. other countries, prospects for turning around these staggering statistics, and how clinical trial execution in Ukraine is contributing to state-of-the-art clinical care delivery in the country, as well as contributing to advancing medicine.