A Medical Device Daily

Cardima (Fremont, California) reported a new marketing relationship with Dot Medical (Macclesfield, UK), a distributor specializing in sales and customer training and support for cardiac devices.

The U.S. firm said Dot Medical is "the leading independent UK distributor for medical devices used to treat cardiac arrhythmias." It supports and trains UK electrophysiologists, both in the National Health System (NHS) and private hospitals.

Cardima said its EP Ablation System, which incorporates the Revelation T-Flex and Intellitemp products, will assist in meeting the needs of patients with AF and physicians who treat them.

In commenting on the newly signed distribution agreement, Cardima CEO Robert Cheney said, "Their reputation for providing innovative solutions in the area of arrhythmia treatment makes Dot Medical an ideal partner to represent and support [our] EP products."

He said the UK is the first market in Europe where Cardima will commercially launch its EP product line, including the Revelation T-Flex Ablation System.

Ian Rankin, managing director of Dot Medical, said, "We are ... pleased that Cardima, with its highly innovative ablation and diagnostic products, has selected us to be their exclusive UK distributor."

Noting that Dot Medical has started a "limited market release" of the Cardima products in three major UK hospitals over the past year, "with excellent results," he said, "we now plan a significant joint market launch to roll out all of the products across the UK during 2008 and 2009."

Rankin said Cardima's Revelation T-Flex and Intellitemp platform "offer a faster, safer and very effective treatment option for atrial fibrillation. In addition, Cardima's diagnostic microcatheters are the thinnest and best in the world, which is extremely important when treating difficult-to-access areas of the coronary vasculature."

EC funds consortium on uniting data resources

The European Commission (EC) has awarded €4.5 million to a pan-European consortium to decide upon the best way to unite Europe's biological data resources into a sustainable, integrative bioinformatics network for the life sciences.

The European Life-science Infrastructure for Biological Information (ELIXIR) project is led by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and involves 32 partners from 13 countries.

The consortium ultimately aims to establish a "sustainably funded" infrastructure for biological information in Europe, to support innovation in life science research, knowledge generation and its translation to medicine, the environment, the bio-industries and society.

The groups said that since the 1980s, the storage mechanism for biological information has gone from being an individual's notebook and published academic papers to open-source databases of integrated information exchanged worldwide on a daily basis.

The backers of the project say ELIXIR aims to protect the existing and future data held in biological data resources. The project seeks to provide a European infrastructure for optimal information storage, access and integration supported by a secure funding mechanism.

"Under the Framework Program for Research, the EC provides support to the preparatory phase for the construction of new research infrastructures," said Robert-Jan Smits, director of Directorate B (European Research Area: Research Programs and Capacity) at the European Commission's DG Research unit.

"This will help catalyze the efforts and resources needed to build and ensure the sustainability of large-scale, word-class infrastructures needed by Europe's research communities," he said.

"The biological sciences are delivering benefits that contribute to advances in our society," said EMBL-EBI director and ELIXIR coordinator Janet Thornton. "Developing a securely funded, integrative infrastructure will give Europe one voice in the global community."

Biotage, PartnerTech in new agreement

PartnerTech (Malmö, Sweden) and Biotage (Uppsala, Sweden), an international company in the field of life science research, have signed a new agreement to manufacture instruments for DNA analysis and microwave synthesis. The agreement, which runs for two years and renews automatically, is worth an estimated SEK 40 million annually.

"PartnerTech's expertise and level of quality make us feel secure in assigning them to handle our products," said Biotage President/CEO Torben Jörgensen. "[Its] product development division, which has helped make our instruments even more competitive in a number of different ways, is also a very big advantage for us."

Biotage has previously collaborated with PartnerTech on the development and production of its DNA instruments. The new agreement covers ongoing manufacture of current products, as well as serial production of a new DNA instrument developed by PartnerTech.

Biotage provides solutions, expertise and experience in genetic analysis and medicinal chemistry. The company, which has about 335 employees, has subsidiaries in the U.S., Japan, the UK, Germany and several other European countries.

PartnerTech AB develops and manufactures products under contract for leading companies, primarily in telecommunications, IT, engineering and medical technology. It has some 1,700 employees at its plants in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, the UK, the U.S. and China.

Austrian study eyes intestinal sequencing

Roche Diagnostics (Basel, Switzerland) said a new research study by the Center for Medical Research at the University of Graz in Austria is set up to characterize the protective composition of the intestinal flora, by means of next-generation sequencing with the company's Genome Sequencer FLX System.

The Clostridium difficile infection, which occurs mainly in individuals who were treated with antibiotics and leads to a severe infection of the large intestine accompanied by extreme diarrhea, will serve as a model for the study. The illness has evolved into a growing international problem, with increasing infection rates resulting in fatalities.

The study is designed to help increase scientific knowledge about the development of various intestinal diseases associated with antibiotic-induced intestinal inflammations.