A Medical Device Daily

Digilab Peptidomics (Hannover, Germany), formerly BioVisioN , was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a new panel of biomarkers for the diagnosis of chronic dementia or a predisposition to such diseases. Using Peptidomics-Technologies, scientists from Digilab have discovered a group of Osteonpontin marker peptides that correlates to Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and Parkinson's disease, the company said. A method for early and reliable detection based on Digilab's Peptidomics biomarkers will enable the development of therapies for this segment of CNS diseases with debilitating patient care medical consequences, according to Digilab.

Dementia diseases represent an increasing problem in industrialized countries because of higher average life expectancies. Such diseases are in most cases incurable and patients therefore require long-term care. Half of these patients receive in-patient care. Alzheimer's disease accounts for about 65% of chronic dementias and new methods for diagnosis and therapy are therefore of great importance, the company noted.

Diglab's scientists believe these new Peptidomics biomarkers will be an alternative or supplementary method to the mini-mental score. "An earlier, faster, easier and safer method for the diagnosis of chronic dementia diseases would save invaluable time to start proper treatment," said Dr. Hans-Dieter Zucht, chief technology officer at Digilab.

Digilab develops differentiated applications for the life sciences research and in-vitro diagnostics markets including pharmaceutical and biotech industries as well as universities and the U.S. government. The company says it has remained focused on sample preparation, bioinformatics, and detection/analysis tools offering solutions for research and development featuring molecular spectroscopy methods.

In February 2006 Digilab (Canton, Massachusetts) acquired BioVisioN, now Digilab Peptidomics (Medical Device Daily, Feb. 28, 2006). Digilab Peptidomics has developed internationally patented Peptidomics products and services. In May 2006 Digilab acquired SpectraCode (West Lafayette Indiana), a developer of Raman spectroscopy technology and systems/solutions for portable "point of need" molecular spectroscopy identification. In February Digilab concluded an exclusive OEM distribution agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim 's (Ingelheim, Germany) Microparts division under which it commercializes Boehringer Ingelheim MicroSystems Technology UV/Vis and NIR Microspectrometers. Additionally, Digilab and Boehringer Ingelheim have entered into a joint development agreement to bring handheld point of need molecular spectroscopy devices to the marketplace.

In other patent activity:

• Ciphergen Biosystems (Fremont, California) reported that the company received from the USPTO a notice of intent to issue a reexamination certificate of U.S. patent no. 6,734,022, which is directed to a fundamental process of Seldi mass spectrometry. Upon reissuance of the patent, Bio-Rad Laboratories (Hercules, California) is to pay Ciphergen $2 million in accordance with the terms of the asset purchase agreement entered into in connection with the sale of Ciphergen's instrumentation business to Bio-Rad on Nov. 13, 2006. That deal was first reported by the companies in August 2006 (MDD, Aug. 26, 2006).

Ciphergen Biosystems, along with its scientific collaborators, has ongoing diagnostic programs in oncology/hematology, cardiology and women's health with an initial focus in ovarian cancer.

• Global Med Technologies (Denver), an international e-Health, medical information technology company, reported that the USPTO will be issuing a patent for SafeTrace Tx, its transfusion software, which is located at more than 337 sites in the U.S. and abroad. Issuance of a patent for SafeTrace Tx is significant, the company said, demonstrating that software developed by Global Med's Wyndgate Technologies (Denver) division contains distinctive features which separate it from other blood management software programs.

SafeTrace Tx is blood management software designed to help raise the standard of care for patients, through improved safety, reduced waste and increased efficiency. The ability of SafeTrace Tx to handle remote crossmatching of blood is among the features covered by the patent, the company said. The software is designed to enable laboratory staff to more effectively manage orders and to provide just-in-time inventory management of blood products while streamlining laboratory workload and expense.

Global Med Technologies provides information management software products and services to the healthcare industry.

• QLT (Vancouver, British Columbia) reported that the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has rendered its decision in the lawsuit brought against QLT by Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI; Boston) in connection with U.S. patent no. 5,789,349. The dispute involved a method patent co-owned by QLT, MEEI and Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston; MDD, Oct. 11, 2006).

The court has adopted the decision of the federal jury that was reported in November 2006 in which the jury recommended that QLT be found liable under Massachusetts state law for unjust enrichment and unfair trade practices and determined that QLT should pay to MEEI damages in the form of royalties equal to 3.01% on net sales worldwide of Visudyne (MDD, Nov. 9, 2006). In its recent decision, the court decided that this 3.01% royalty rate applies to past, present and future sales of Visudyne. The court also awarded interest at the Massachusetts statutory rate of 12% on the royalties as they would have become payable, from April 24, 2000. The court also awarded MEEI its legal fees in an amount of $14.1 million, to which will be applied a reduction of $3 million previously agreed to by MEEI.