A Medical Device Daily

Sandvik Materials Technology (Stockholm, Sweden) said it has acquired JKB Medical Technologies (Milford, Connecticut), a contract manufacturer of spinal implants and medical instruments, with implants representing about 80% of sales. The products are manufactured from titanium alloy and high-alloy stainless materials.

The U.S. firm's customers comprise med-tech companies that sell directly to hospitals and medical clinics. The company has annual sales of about SEK 90 million ($14 million) and 90 employees.

Operations are conducted from the main plant and a recently established plant in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sandvik said the acquisition "further strengthens" its position in the rapidly expanding spinal implants segment.

"The acquisition is another important step in our efforts to become a strategic partner and complete supplier to globally leading medical technology companies," said Peter Gossas, president of Sandvik. "JKB Medical Technologies' core expertise and product program represent an excellent complement to Sandvik's existing operation and product offering within the medical area."

Sandvik is a global industrial company with significant positions in selected areas, including tools for metal cutting, machinery and tools for rock excavation, stainless materials, special alloys, metallic and ceramic resistance materials as well as process systems. As of year-end 2006, the group had about 42,000 employees and representation in 130 countries, with annual sales of more than SEK 72,000 million.

Sandvik Materials Technology is a business area within the Sandvik Group and a leading maker of advanced special alloys and ceramic materials for a number of sectors, including med-tech.


German hospital orders Sectra PACS

Dusseldorf University Hospital (Dusseldorf, Germany) reported that it has signed a multi-year agreement with IT and medical company Sectra (Link ping, Sweden) for picture archiving and communications system (PACS) products and services.

The hospital is one the largest and most prominent university hospitals in Germany.

Sectra will introduce the Sectra PACS system with the most recent technology into all areas of diagnostic imaging within the hospital, which it said is one the largest and most prominent university hospitals in Germany.

Sectra PACS will be integrated into the hospital's existing radiology and hospital information systems, and through the five-year partner agreement, Sectra also provide direct service and support.

The diagnostic imaging operations at the 1,100-bed Dusseldorf University Hospital are distributed throughout five locations across the hospital campus, including the neuroradiology and pediatric radiology departments, a breast center and radiology units for all surgical and conservative disciplines.

"The integration of PACS into the radiology information system and the hospital information system enhances internal workflows enormously," said Ulrich M dder, MD, director of the Institute of Diagnostic Radiology at the hospital. "The effectiveness of radiological performance will increase significantly, since all relevant imaging and findings data is available whenever and wherever they are needed."

The hospital consists of 29 clinics and 30 medical institutes and in 2006 served about 42,000 inpatients and 300,000 outpatients. It performs more than 100,000 radiology examinations a year and a significant increase is expected, due to the introduction of PACS, the opening in 2009 of a new surgical center and the expansion of outpatient capacity.

"This order, from one of the most renowned university hospitals in Germany, is a strategically important step as we now expand our direct sales and service efforts in Germany," said Torbj rn Kronander, president of Sectra Imtec.

Sectra was founded in 1978 and has its roots in the Link ping Institute of Technology.


KreLo Medical, Siemens in assay accord

Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics (SMS Diag; Deerfield, Illinois) said it has signed an agreement with KreLo GmbH Medical Diagnostics for the rights to develop an automated stimulating TSH receptor antibody (TRAb) assay used in the differential diagnosis of Graves' disease.

This agreement will make SMS Diag the first in vitro diagnostics distributor of an automated TRAb assay featuring stimulating TRAb KreLo antibodies, which are specific to the diagnosis of Graves' disease.

"The new TRAb assay has enormous potential to help diagnose, monitor and predict the course of Graves' disease," said Joe Bernardo, senior VP, central lab testing, for the Siemens business unit.

Graves' disease affects roughly 32 million people worldwide. One of the most common forms of hyperthyroidism, the disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the presence of stimulating TSH receptor autoantibodies found in about 90% of Graves' patients. The company said that, left untreated, Graves' disease can lead to miscarriage, birth defects, thyroid eye disease and can be life-threatening.

KreLo focuses on R&D of diagnostic kits for application in human medicine. It was co-founded by Werner Kress and Professor Ulrich Loos, formerly professor in the department of medicine at Ulm University (Ulm, Germany). Loos is the CEO of KreLo.


DiaGenic partnering with Opaldia in UK

Norwegian life sciences company DiaGenic (Oslo) said it has signed a letter of intent with Opaldia concerning that company's becoming the commercial partner in the UK for DiaGenic's gene expression tests.

The first is expected to be DiaGenic's breast cancer test, targeted for CE-mark approval by the end of 2008. The test will be made available in the UK to private patients as part of the Opaldia Breastcare Program.

The agreement between DiaGenic and Opaldia also includes the use of the research-use-only version of the test in studies funded by Opaldia until a CE-approved version is available.

James Mackay, MD, medical director of Opaldia, said "We are delighted to partner with DiaGenic on [its] breast cancer test. The DiaGenic breast cancer blood test is an exciting new weapon in the fight against breast cancer."

Opaldia already is a distributor of the Agendia MammaPrint assay, a tissue-based cancer prognostic assay, "and inclusion of the DiaGenic test in our program will demonstrate our leading position as a provider of advanced genetics within the oncology field."

Dr. Erik Christensen, CEO of DiaGenic, said, "We are ... looking forward to this partnership with Opaldia. This will be our first commercial agreement providing market access in the UK through a highly competent organization with broad experience in bringing new diagnostic technologies to the market."

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