A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

American Imaging Management (AIM; Deerfield, Illinois), a radiology benefit management and technology company with health plan clients representing more than 20 million consumers, said it has been selected by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF; Jacksonville, Florida) to deliver imaging network information and transparency services through AIM's OptiNet program.

"BCBSF looks forward to working with AIM to deliver leading edge, web-based solutions that promote high quality and affordable healthcare for our members," said Barry Schwartz, MD, VP of network management at BCBSF. "AIM's OptiNet solution supports BCBSF's initiatives to enhance transparency for physicians and consumers by providing a better understanding of diagnostic imaging service delivery and value within our markets."

"AIM appreciates the opportunity to work with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. The evolving nature of diagnostic imaging delivery and growing desire for more information among physicians and patients require innovative tools that can meet the needs of health plans, members, employers and providers. We look forward to supporting BCBSF's leadership on this important initiative," said David Harrington, CEO and chairman of AIM.

OptiNet is a set of network management tools offered by AIM to promote quality and affordability within diagnostic imaging, the company said.

AIM promotes the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging through the application of clinical guidelines, saying that it pioneered the use of web technology in diagnostic imaging management. AIM is an operating subsidiary of WellPoint (Thousand Oaks, California).

BCBSF and its subsidiaries serve more than 8.7 million people.

In other agreement news:

  • Grant Life Sciences (Los Angeles), reported that it has decided to terminate further negotiations with Diagnostic Technologies (DTL; Yoqneam, Israel) related to Grant's serum-based cervical cancer-diagnostic technology (U.S. Patent No. 6,743,593). An extension of the Memo of Understanding (MOU) between Grant and DTL was made necessary because DTL's business activities were hindered as a result of the 2006 Israel/Lebanon conflict, between July 12 and Aug. 14, 2006.

"We will continue to develop our serum-based test for cervical cancer while seeking an appropriate development-and-commercialization partner," said Hun-Chi Lin, PhD, Grant's president and chief scientist. "Nevertheless, we are very pleased with the near-term opportunity afforded us by our relationship with Alphagenics and its DNA-based HPV test for cervical cancer."

On June 13, 2007, Grant said that it had signed a MOU with Alphagenics Diaco Biotechnologies (Trieste, Italy) to exclusively in-license the manufacturing and marketing rights to Alphagenics' molecular diagnostic test for Human Papilloma Viruses (HPVs) in Greater China and the U.S. and non-exclusively in Europe, India, Australia and Japan. The Alphagenics HPV test is a DNA-based diagnostic that uses standard molecular diagnostic equipment found in most commercial laboratories.

Alphagenics' HPV DNA test complements the HPV blood test Grant Life Sciences is developing — a serum-based immunological test to detect cervical dysplasia. Of the more-than-100 types of HPV, about 10 have been linked to cervical cancer. While a serum-based test to detect precancerous evidence and cancer of the cervix is still viewed by Grant as the preferred test-methodology to address the needs of the developing world, molecular (DNA) testing is currently the approved test protocol in both the U.S. and Europe.

Lin said that the Alphagenics test also can be used in the current gynecological regimen to help qualify Pap test results in the case of ambiguous readings, at a cost less than the current approved molecular test. Grant expects to launch the Alphagenics HPV DNA-based test in the Asian and Indian markets during the fourth quarter of this year.

Grant Life, a development-stage company, develops diagnostic kits for the screening, monitoring, and diagnosis of diseases with emphasis on women's health, infectious diseases, and cancers.

  • Phadia (Portage, Michigan) reported a new long-term agreement with Bio-Reference Laboratories (Elmwood Park, New Jersey) allowoing Bio-Reference to supply ImmunoCAP specific IgE blood tests to its customers, including those covered by United Healthcare.

The ImmunoCAP technology works by measuring IgE antibodies to specific allergens in a small sample of blood. Specific IgE is produced as a result of sensitization to an allergen and increases with exposure to that substance. ImmunoCAP was the first allergy test to be cleared by the FDA as a truly quantitative test for pinpointing allergens and has recently been shown to produce the most accurate results. Allergy blood testing is recognized by the National Institutes of Health for the management of patients with asthma.

Phadia is involved in in vitro IgE diagnostic R&D. Bio-Reference bills itself as the largest independent regional clinical laboratory in the Northeast, with major positions in physician offices, nursing homes and correctional institutions.