A Medical Device Daily

Siemens Healthcare (Mountain View, California) reported that it would extend its strategic alliance with Biosense Webster (Diamond Bar, California) by opening up the Acuson AcuNav ultrasound catheter for use on third party ultrasound systems. In 2006, the two companies announced an agreement giving Biosense Webster the exclusive worldwide rights to distribute Siemens' Acuson AcuNav ultrasound catheters, as well as a co-development of the technology in the future.

The Acuson AcuNav ultrasound catheter provides electrophysiologists and interventional cardiologists with real-time diagnostic ultrasound images and Doppler blood flow information from within the heart. Cleared for marketing in 1999, Siemens said the intracardiac catheter is known for its "state-of-the art quality" and is currently the world's only cardiac imaging ultrasound catheter.

"We are pleased to open up the use of the Acuson AcuNav technology to other than our own ultrasound systems," said Klaus Hambuchen, CEO, Ultrasound, and Siemens Medical Solutions USA. "This will enable healthcare providers to improve the quality of care for an increased number of patients by coupling their ultrasound equipment with advanced intracardiac echocardiography [ICE]."

Introducing an open standard for the use of ICE means that this technology is available for a growing cardiac patient population with the goal of making the Acuson AcuNav technology a standard of care in electrophysiology and interventional cardiology.

In other agreements:

• Cutera (Brisbane, California), a provider of laser and other light-based aesthetic systems, reported it has formed a strategic alliance with Solana MedSpas (Irvine, California). Cutera is now the preferred provider of customized aesthetic systems and services to all Solana MedSpas' clinics nationwide.

Solana is a medical spa developer, with a growing network of individually branded facilities for entrepreneurs and physicians across North America. Solana has sold over 70 stand-alone retail medspas with others scheduled to be opened in 2008. Additionally, Solana has recently launched a new sales division, Solana MD, which specifically targets the aesthetic spas located in physician offices.

Cutera will provide Solana MedSpas with laser and other light-based aesthetic systems for the most in-demand procedures for hair removal, vascular therapy and skin rejuvenation.

• bioMérieux, (Paris; BIM), a developer of products in the field of in vitro diagnostics, and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND; Geneva, Switzerland), a Swiss non-profit foundation, have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly undertake development projects in the field of infectious disease diagnostics.

Over the course of a four-year affiliation, the two organizations aim not only to bring together their know-how and expertise in the development of new, more rapid diagnostic tests but also to strengthen laboratory infrastructures for the public health sector in high-burden countries.

• Kinetic Concepts (KCI; San Antonio) a company that develops wound care and therapeutic support systems, reported that it has entered into a three-year agreement with The MED Group (Lubbock, Texas) a nationwide network of independently-owned home medical equipment (HME), respiratory and mobility companies.

The MED Group, which has more than 340 member companies and more than 1,000 operating locations nationwide, will be KCI's preferred HME provider network manager