A Medical Device Daily

Biological Signal Processing (BSP; Tel Aviv, Israel), a start-up company that develops what it terms “innovative, simple and cost-effective systems for early stage, non-invasive diagnosis and monitoring of ischemic heart disease,” said it has received a letter of intent from Schiller (Baar, Switzerland) indicating that firm’s interest in incorporating BSP’s HyperQ technology into Schiller’s products.

BSP said that after reviewing the technological and clinical evidence regarding the HyperQ technology, Schiller expressed interest in integrating the HyperQ technology, as a first step, into its stress ECG systems.

BSP said negotiations will take place regarding licensing of the stress HyperQ technology, with the intention of signing an agreement during 1Q08. The letter of understnding is non-binding, and BSP said Schiller is aware that the Israeli company is negotiating with other parties without limitations.

Dr. Amir Beker, founder and CEO of BSP, said, “We are pleased with the signed letter of intent and perceive it as a declaration of confidence in our HyperQ technology and products. This is a ... significant step, accelerating the deployment of the HyperQ technology and products into world markets.”

He added: “The incorporation of the HyperQ technology into the products of a world-leading medical device manufacturer such as Schiller will pave the way for the integration of the HyperQ technology into further applications such as rest ECG systems, implantable devices, homecare monitors and more.”

BSP is dedicated to developing risk-free and reliable solutions for the diagnosis and monitoring of ischemic heart disease. The HyperQ System for Stress Tests, BSP’s first product, has received FDA 510(k) approval and obtained the CE mark.

BSP was founded in 2000 by Beker, a graduate of the Israeli IDF Talpiot program and a researcher in the field of biomedical signal analysis in academia and industry, and Ariel Landau, formerly executive VP of Elbit Systems and Elscint.

The company completed a successful IPO in mid-2006 and is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

More than 3,500 patients in Israel, Europe and the U.S. have been examined by the HyperQ System in controlled clinical studies, in a clinical pilot program and in routine operation.

In addition to its headquarters in Tel Aviv, the company has U.S. offices in Rockville, Maryland.

Would-be buyers still jousting over Aussie firm

The battle over control of diagnostics laboratory provider Symbion Health (Melbourne, Australia) continues, with would-be acquirer Primary Health Care (Melbourne) having extended the offer period for its proposed $2.65 billion takeover from the previous deadline of Jan. 7 to Jan. 21.

In an update on the contested situtation, Primary said it has a total interest in Symbion of 35.13%. A total of 14.29% of Symbion’s shares are held subject to instructions in an institutional acceptance facility, and Primary held a stake in Symbion of 20.84%. Primary has said its offer is conditional upon achieving acceptances of 90%.

The Symbion board has maintained its recommendation to reject the offer, maintaining that Primary’s cash offer of A$4.10 a share is too low and that the latter firm can afford to pay more.

Primary is battling private hospitals operator Healthscope (Parkville, Australia) for control of Symbion’s pathology, diagnostic imaging and medical centers, collectively referred to as the company’s diagnostics businesses.

At stake are more than 900 clinics, labs and collection centers. Symbion’s laboratories analyze specimens from about 10 million patients a year that are collected at 660 centers in every Australian state except South Australia and Tasmania. That gives it about a third of the private pathology market in Australia.

Healthscope has built a stake of 11.91% in Symbion, aimed at giving it the opportunity to play a role in determining control of the company. Healthscope said earlier in December that its options could include a takeover bid of its own for Symbion.

Australian analysts have suggested that the most likely outcome is that Primary and Healthscope agree to split Symbion’s diagnostics assets.

Healthscope made two previous, unsuccessful attempts to acquire those assets. The first attempt was thwarted by Primary and the second by an adverse ruling from the Australian Taxation Office.

ASQ offering quality seminars in China

The American Society for Quality (ASQ; Milwaukee) said it will offer a seminar to manufacturers throughout China beginning next year on “Improving Quality and Product Safety.” ASQ said the seminar will enable Chinese companies to improve product quality and safety, and make their overall operations more efficient.

The association said that, since many American companies have partnerships with Chinese manufacturers, “it is important for Chinese firms, as with all companies, to strengthen their quality improvement process as well as build a positive reputation and strengthen consumer confidence.”

Randall Goodden, chair of ASQ’s Product Safety & Liability Prevention Interest Group, will conduct the seminars. He is an internationally known expert on product liability prevention.

The courses, which were developed by Goodden over the past 12 years, make a connection between systematic quality practice and product liability avoidance.

Goodden said the seminars “are an opportunity for Chinese suppliers to understand what their customers are expecting in terms of quality. These manufacturers will be introduced to techniques that will greatly reduce the potential for error and lead to significant improvements in overall quality.”

ASQ said it is bringing the sessions to China in conjunction with the Shanghai Association for Quality. ASQ has been working with Chinese quality professionals since 2005 through its ASQ China subsidiary, located in Beijing. ASQ-authorized training is currently being offered in major cities in China.

The seminars will be presented initially in Shanghai on Jan. 25-26, Hangzhou on Jan. 28-29, and Nanjing Jan. 31-Feb. 1.

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