A Medical Device Daily

Texas Instruments (TI; Dallas) reported yesterday that it is allocating $15 million to fund medical technology research at selected universities. The funding will be in areas such as personal medical devices, implantables, medical imaging, wireless healthcare systems and biosensor technology.

“TI has always been at the forefront of technology research and we are very excited to partner with universities worldwide to help develop the next-generation of medical electronics that will allow our customers to improve the quality of healthcare and life,” said Kent Novak, VP of TI’s medical business unit.

Novak added: “In the 1990s, wireless communications systems, cell phones and PDAs were major areas of R&D and leading market drivers in the electronics industry. An outgrowth of these developments is higher system integration and lower power requirements. Many new and emerging medical systems are now utilizing these established technologies to improve patient monitoring in hospitals, for feature-enhanced personal care devices, and for rapidly modernizing healthcare systems in developing countries where standardized healthcare is virtually nonexistent.”

TI technology has been used in much recent advancement in the medical field, including portable imaging, wireless communications for patient monitoring, retinal prosthesis and DSP-based robotics to improve quality of life for amputees.

In contracts news:

• Akers Biosciences (ABI; Thorofare, New Jersey) said in addition to Monday’s news about the U.S. Army placing an order for $2.5 million of BreathScan alcohol safety units, the U.S. Navy yesterday placed orders for the same products valued at $2 million, deliverable in shipments beginning immediately and continuing through 2007.

ABI develops rapid, point-of-care screening and testing products and has been catering for the demand from several departments of the United States Government as a result of its efforts to increase safety awareness. The units provided consist of the company’s disposable breathalyzer device housed within its portable and refillable key ring case.

Thomas Nicolette, president/CFO of ABI, said: “This latest order will take the total number of our BreathScan alcohol safety units in use by the U.S. military to more than 1.5 million. This provides a basis for a recurring revenue business model generated from this product line as the key ring cases will require refill once the alcohol breathalyzers are used and disposed.

Our BreathScan alcohol safety units are currently in use by the United States Special Operation Command, the United States Army and now the Navy.”

ABI develops, point-of-care screening and testing products designed to bring healthcare information both rapidly and directly to the patient or healthcare provider.

• HLTH’s(Elmwood Park, New Jersey) ViPS (Baltimore, Maryland) subsidiary reported that ViPS has been selected as an information technology partner by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in its new contracting vehicle named Enterprise Systems Development, or ESD. CMS is expected to procure a majority of their information technology development work for the next ten years under this new contract. CMS set a maximum ceiling of $4 billion on the value of contracts to be awarded. ViPS is one of eight large business awardees.

The ESD contract is part of CMS’ vision to achieve a transformed and modernized healthcare system for its Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. CMS is faced with the challenge of responding to emerging healthcare IT trends, such as Federal Interoperability Standards, electronic and personal health records, transparency, new payment models, consumer-driven healthcare and regional and national health information networks.

The ESD partnering environment will focus on establishing and maintaining a collaborative business arrangement between CMS and its select partners, including ViPS, to advance performance, improve care quality and create value- driven, transparent healthcare in the U.S.

ViPS provides healthcare data management, analytics, decision-support and process automation solutions and related information technology services to governmental, Blue Cross Blue Shield and commercial healthcare payers.

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