According to Millennium Research Group's (Waltham, Massachusetts) "U.S. Markets for Ultrasound Systems 2008" report, the domestic ultrasound market will experience rapid growth over the next five years. Increasing at a compound annual rate of over 15% from 2007 to 2012, this market, composed of ultrasound systems used for regional anesthesia, emergency medicine, surgery, and critical care, will exceed $306 million by 2012 (excluding upgrade and service revenues).

The affordability and improving performance of compact systems have made ultrasound increasingly popular in nontraditional environments such as critical care units. Compact systems weigh 15 pounds or less, providing convenience and mobility to physicians. Manufacturers of these systems have fostered growth in emerging markets by tailoring new compact systems to include specific applications that ease system operation for health care providers who are inexperienced with ultrasound.

"Compact systems can be carried conveniently when patient mobility is an issue, and take up little space in environments where space is at a premium," said Robert Mak, an analyst at Millennium. "These attributes make them invaluable to critical-care units and emergency medicine environments, where rapid diagnoses are sometimes essential."

Millennium Research provides medical technology market intelligence and is a provider of strategic information to the healthcare sector.

SurModics subsidiary gets additional facility

SurModics (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), a provider of surface modification and drug-delivery technologies to healthcare said that its Brookwood pharmaceuticals subsidiary, in Birmingham, Alabama, has acquired an additional facility in the Birmingham area, expanding Brookwood's capacity for R&D activities and clinical manufacturing. It will be SurModics' corporate center for commercial GMP manufacturing of drug-delivery products for pharma and biotech customers.

Bruce Barclay, president/CEO of SurModics, said, "The facility expansion ... is designed to support this growing interest in both R&D and manufacturing services at Brookwood, and serves to highlight the strength of our business and the optimism we have in its future."

He added, "We [also] plan to manufacture the late-stage clinical trial and commercial I-vation TA Intravitreal Implant product for our customer Merck & Co. in this facility. With an anticipated total investment of approximately $30 million in the facility and associated renovation, we will be constructing a world-class facility to develop and manufacture drug delivery products to improve patient outcomes around the world."

Caliper to consolidate operations

Caliper Life Sciences (Hopkinton, Massachusetts), a provider of tools and services for drug discovery and life sciences research, reported consolidation of its West Coast business operations to reduce facility costs and improve the productivity and effectiveness of its R&D spending.

Based on preliminary financial data for the first quarter ended March 31, Caliper said that this will result in annual cost savings of about $3.3 million, though it will incur costs of roughly $3.7 million in FY08 to achieve this savings.

Caliper said it has completed the reductions of general and administrative costs and improved productivity, namely the streamlining of its finance organization, reported several weeks ago, and the recent settlement of two legal disputes. A first-quarter severance and retention charge of $500,000 to $650,000 will be recorded for the West Coast consolidation and other streamlining actions taken during the quarter.

Rotech gets Nasdaq letter

Rotech Healthcare (Orlando, Florida) said that it received a Nasdaq staff determination letter stating that the company has failed to comply with marketplace Rule 4310(c)(3), which requires the company to have a minimum of $2.5 million in stockholders' equity or $35 million market value of listed securities or $500,000 of net income from continuing operations for the most recently completed fiscal year or two of the three most recently completed fiscal years for continued listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

In its letter, the Nasdaq staff states that based on its review of materials submitted by the company, the staff has determined to deny the company's request for continued listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

Rotech makes respiratory care and durable medical equipment for patients with breathing disorders.