ImaRx Therapeutics (Tucson, Arizona) and Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) reported a new research alliance focused on using Philips’ ultrasound technology as part of ImaRx’s SonoLysis program to develop a new treatment for acute ischemic stroke.

Philips will provide ultrasound devices and technical assistance to ImaRx during lab and preclinical studies. The companies are trying to determine the optimal ultrasound parameters to use with ImaRx’s MRX-801 microbubble technology.

“ImaRx chose to partner with Philips specifically because Philips already has an emphasis on stroke and imaging of the brain,” ImaRx CFO Greg Cobb told Medical Device Daily. “It’s one of the few areas where there’s a drug/device combination using our microbubble technology that’s therapeutic rather than diagnostic.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cobb said the potential for the end product is vast because there is a large unmet medical need for patients with ischemic stroke. Of the approximate 700,000 patients who experience stroke each year in the U.S., 600,000 are ischemic and only a small fraction of those patients receive tPA, the only FDA-approved therapy.

The ImaRx SonoLysis program is focused on the development of products that involve the administration of its MRX-801 microbubbles and ultrasound to break up blood clots and restore blood flow to oxygen-deprived tissues with or without a thrombolytic drug. The sub-micron size of MRX-801 microbubbles may allow them to penetrate a blood clot and break it into very small particles.

The agreement includes a mutual exclusivity clause during the term of the collaboration. Following completion of research, Philips and ImaRx will renegotiate to discuss future development and commercialization.

In September, ImaRx received approval from the data and safety monitoring board to proceed with the second dose cohort in its TUCSON (Transcranial Ultrasound in Clinical SONoLysis) Phase I/II dose escalation study evaluating SonoLysis + tPA therapy in patients with acute ischemic stroke.

In other agreement news:

•InTouch Health (Santa Barbara, California) reported it will integrate its remote presence technology with the da Vinci robotic surgical system developed by Intuitive Surgical (Sunnyvale, California) in a new agreement. The goal is to enable surgeons in different locations to perform remote surgical proctoring, training and collaboration.

The da Vinci robot translates a surgeon’s natural hand movements on instrument controls outside the patient’s body into corresponding micro-movements of the instrument tips positioned inside the patient through small puncture incisions.

InTouch’s Remote Presence System allows a remotely-based surgeon to project his presence into an operating room where a surgeon is performing a da Vinci surgical procedure via the Internet.

“Training physicians on new surgical procedures is a process that often requires the guidance of a more experienced surgeon over a number of procedures,” said Yulun Wang, chairman and CEO of InTouch. “Coupling the Remote Presence system with the da Vinci surgical robot will greatly improve the availability and access of more experienced surgeons, which may enable more rapid adoption of new procedures.”

•Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, California) and BioNanomatrix (Philadelphia) said they have entered an alliance to develop a new genetic analysis system. BioNanomatrix will apply its nanoscale single molecule imaging technology to develop consumable chips and reagents. Agilent will develop the measurement instrumentation platform for the system.

“This collaboration with Agilent provides us with the opportunity to join forces with a global life sciences leader to accelerate the development of our unique nanoscale whole genome imaging technology,” said Michael Boyce-Jacino, CEO of BioNanomatrix.

BioNanomatrix is developing technology to enable nanoscale single molecule identification and analysis of the entire genome, delivering single-molecule sensitivity in a highly parallel format.

“BioNanomatrix’s nanoscale whole genome imaging and analysis technology, with sensitivity at the level of the single molecule, has the potential to enable a number of important new applications for life sciences research and clinical medicine,” said Nick Roelofs, VP and general manager of the Life Sciences Solutions unit at Agilent.