A Medical Device Daily

Asia Pacific companies are likely to be leaders in the global healthcare market in 2008 due to the region's high population growth rates, rising affluence and aging societies, according to a recent analyst briefing by global consulting group Frost & Sullivan (F&S).

Frost & Sullivan said that revenue for the Asia Pacific healthcare market is likely to grow 6.3% to $889 billion in 2008 from $836 billion in 2007.

Reenita Das, vice president of healthcare Asia Pacific at F&S, said the region will continue to undergo a robust economic growth in 2008, attracting more investments in healthcare infrastructure.

Countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Australia are expected to have more than 10% of their population above age 65 by 2010. In Japan, the aging population is twice that amount, F&S said.

"Asia Pacific is moving into the 'Golden Age' whereby aging populations are increasing, therefore it directly contributes to the healthcare expenditure," Das said in the analyst briefing.

Das noted that China, South Korea and India have the highest healthcare spending growth rate in Asia due to their large populations.

Investments in healthcare infrastructures by the private sector also contributed to the growth of the healthcare industry overall, she said, adding that governments in Asia are gradually shifting the costs for healthcare development to the private sector.

Despite the industry's great potential, Das said that market participants must be aware of the varying healthcare regulations in different parts of a country, which may be a challenge. "There also is a heavy reliance on public healthcare in many Asian countries, higher distribution and service costs, lack of developed infrastructure, intense competition from local companies and lack of market penetration in rural parts of Asia," she added.

Frost & Sullivan said demand for premium healthcare products and services is growing, so 2008 will be marked by a shift in focus from a "sick care" mentality to healthcare philosophy and practice.

Das said, "There are more educated and well-informed consumers, greater employer involvement in employees' healthcare, direct marketing to consumers and an overall wellness movement" in place to help propel Asia Pacific market growth.

Diagnostic inspection device developed

China Sky One Medical (Harbin, China), a pharmaceutical company for over-the-counter drugs in China, reported the development of a semi-quantitative automatic inspection device for its diagnostic kits.

Harbin First Bio-Engineering, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Sky One Medical, has developed a series of diagnostic kits under the support of the Chinese government that it said "significantly improve" the accuracy of early cancer detection.

The company said that in order to interpret the results from these kits, physicians must use advanced equipment with which very few hospitals in China are equipped. As a result, China Sky One collaborated with Harbin Institute of Technology Machinery and Automation College to develop a semi-quantitative automatic inspection system for its diagnostic kits to aid physicians in interpreting the results.

The new inspection system uses transferred photoelectron technology, simplifying the diagnostic process. The company said the new device should stimulate faster adoption of its diagnostic kits.

The device, for which China Sky One Medical holds the applicable patent, has been submitted to the State Food and Drug Administration for approval.

Yan-Qing Liu, chairman/CEO of China Sky One, said, "We believe that by combining our kits with the inspection device, it will promote wider adoption of the kits by healthcare professionals and make a meaningful contribution to our revenue in the future. The sales model of bundling diagnostic kits with the inspection device will help to maintain profits and increase our competitiveness going forward."

GlobalMed to distribute Vaser system

Sound Surgical Technologies (Louisville, Colorado) has named GlobalMed Technologies (Glen Ellen, California), as the Japanese and South Korean distributor for the Vaser Lipo System.

Vaser Lipo, or LipoSelection, uses ultrasonic waves to liquefy fat before removal, creating realistic curves and definition for those hard-to-fix spots.

Sound Surgical CEO Dan Goldberger said, "In selecting GlobalMed Technologies as distributor of the Vaser technology to the Japanese and South Korean markets, we bring together [our] innovative ... fat-removal technology with Global Med's position as the leader in providing advance technologies for overseas clinicians."

Vaser Hi Def precisely removes both superficial and deep fat around muscle groups in order to enhance the visibility of the underlying musculature. Sound Surgical said that, similar to 3-D sculpting, "Vaser Hi Def takes into account the shape and form of structures underneath the skin that create body contours."

JPO licenses Xennex's GeneCards

Xennex (Cambridge, Massachusetts) said the Japan Patent Office (JPO) has licensed GeneCards to assist in the review and approval of patent applications in the life sciences area.

Xennex said that it has selected Bioscene Informatics (Kobe, Japan) as its exclusive partner for the distribution of GeneCards in that country.

Patent examiners from the JPO will access GeneCards to conduct "prior art" research and help determine if an invention can be patented. The European Patent Office (EPO) has similarly been using GeneCards under a license from Xennex since 2005.

David Warshawsky, CEO of Xennex, said, "GeneCards is a very useful tool for professionals dealing with intellectual property in the life sciences area, including biotech, pharma and intellectual property law firms. The EPO has been using GeneCards very successfully for several years now; [and] with the JPO's licensing of GeneCards, we continue to expand our presence in the intellectual property field."

Xennex said that, in addition to the intellectual property field, GeneCards is "widely used by hundreds of commercial and academic organizations by thousands of users around the globe, including, academic researchers, as well as R&D groups in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies."