A Medical Device Daily

The T. Boone Pickens Foundation (Dallas), the charitable organization formed late last year by oil and gas industry entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens, reported making two gifts of $50 million each for two University of Texas healthcare institutions: UT Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas) and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston).

The gifts will create special funds at the institutions, requiring that they grow to $1 billion ($500 million each) within 25 years from earnings on the original principal and/or from new outside donations solicited by the institutions. When the $500 million marks are reached, the institutions will be able to distribute the funds as they see fit.

"It is my desire, through these gifts, to build major legacies which

will help ensure the excellence of UT Southwestern and M. D. Anderson in decades to come," Pickens said. "My foundation will get 10 for one on its money, and that's good for all of us."

UT Southwestern said that the $50 million earmarked for it matches the largest single-sponsor gift in the institution's history. In recognition of the gift, a recently completed 800,000-sq.-ft. medical research and education facility on the UT Southwestern campus will be named the T. Boone Pickens Biomedical Building.

The $50 million awarded to M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is the largest

single philanthropic gift it has ever received. M. D. Anderson will name its new 21-story, 730,000-sq.-ft. signature academic building the T. Boone Pickens Academic Tower. The tower will include executive and faculty offices, classrooms and conference facilities. The top floor will feature a state-of-the-art cancer research library for M. D. Anderson, designed to facilitate both independent study and group interactions.

In contract news: Ikonisys (New Haven, Connecticut), a developer of automated cell-based diagnostic products, reported the sale to Michigan Institute of Urology (Detroit) of its proprietary Ikoniscope robotic microscopy platform and its oncoFISH bladder application.

In conjunction with the Ikoniscope, oncoFISH bladder enables automated testing of cells found in urine specimens to aid in the detection of bladder cancer. Earlier this year, oncoFISH bladder became the first fully automated oncology diagnostic test to be cleared for marketing by the FDA.

"The Ikoniscope is the only high-throughput ‘plug-and-play' system on the market, and we have found that it enables greater analytical sensitivity than any other fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis system," said Alphonse Santino, MD, president/CEO of Michigan Institute of Urology, said, "We are dedicated to providing our patients with the most up-to-date, quality, cost-effective urologic care available … ."

Ikonisys' diagnostic products automate the time-consuming laboratory technique, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), which identifies chromosome aberrations associated with various diseases. oncoFISH bladder detects aberrations for chromosomes 3, 7, 9, and 17 in cells found in urine sediment to aid in the initial diagnosis of bladder cancer in patients with blood in the urine and the subsequent monitoring for tumor recurrence in patients previously diagnosed with bladder cancer.

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