A Medical Device Daily

Scripps Health (La Jolla, California) reported receiving a $30 million grant from The Howard Charitable Foundation to jump-start its plan to build a $430 million cardiovascular institute, which it says could become the largest heart program in California.

The $30 million gift is one of the single largest philanthropic donations in the organization’s 83-year history, Scripps said.

Chris Van Gorder, president/CEO of Scripps Health, said that the gift “will allow patients to have greater access to many of the nation’s top cardiac experts and lifesaving services at Scripps.”

The cardiovascular institute, slated for completion in 2015, will be built on the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla . It will include 168 in-patient beds, cardiac catheterization labs with advanced medical technology, centralized cardiovascular research labs and a center for graduate medical education for physicians, Scripps said.

Scripps considers itself the largest provider of cardiac care in San Diego with more than 45,000 cardiovascular discharges in 2005.

In contract news: Pacific Biometrics (PBI; Seattle) reported being awarded a contract worth about $2.1 million with what it termed a “top multinational pharmaceutical company.” This contract, related to a biological treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), will provide essential laboratory data for a pivotal, global Phase III program, according to the company.

PBI is specifically contracted to provide testing for an extensive panel of inflammatory, metabolic, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal biomarkers to support the sponsor’s Phase III clinical development program. The sponsor ultimately hopes to submit a new drug application (NDA) filing with the FDA and equivalent filings with regulatory agencies in other jurisdictions, PBI said. Testing for the newly awarded contract is expected to begin at the end of the fourth quarter and continue through the second quarter of 2010.

“Our inclusion in this pivotal, international Phase III arthritis program is exciting on multiple fronts,” said Ron Helm, CEO of Pacific Biometrics. “First of all, these studies will further strengthen our relationship with this sponsor, who accounts for an important and growing percentage of our more diversified customer base. Second, our selection for this project is validation for our worldwide, best-in-class testing of biomarkers as they relate to the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis — a growing area of expertise for the company. Third, the drug in question is a highly innovative, first-in-class biologic agent for RA that may have applicability to a broader range of inflammatory diseases. Finally, assuming the scope of the studies remains unchanged, the contract should have a meaningful impact on our fiscal 2008 and 2009 financial results.”

PBI provides central laboratory and contract research services to support pharmaceutical and diagnostic manufacturers.