A Medical Device Daily

"Ithaka Acquisition" (Miami) reported that stockholders of record as of May 9 will be invited to attend its special meeting and vote on six proposals, including the approval of the agreement and plan of merger with Alsius (Irvine, California), a developer of products to control patient temperature in critical care settings.

Ithaka, which first reported its intention to acquire Alsius last year (Medical Device Daily, Oct. 5, 2006), said its stockholders will also vote on changing the company's name from Ithaka Acquisition Corp. to Alsius Corporation and to amend the company's certificate of incorporation to increase its authorized capitalization.

The company said it plans to hold the special meeting of stockholders in June.

Alsius's products consist of the CoolGard system and three families of single-use catheters. The CoolGard system is a computer-controlled temperature regulation system that circulates cool or warm saline in a closed-loop circuit through balloons that surround the catheters. Unlike conventional external temperature management products, such as cooling and warming blankets and ice packs, Alsius's intravascular products are designed to cool and warm the patient from the inside out, thereby more effectively managing body temperature and allowing caregivers easier access to administer patient care.

In other deals activity:

• GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, England), a unit of General Electric (Fairfield, Connecticut), reported that it has granted NorDiag ASA access to GE Healthcare patents for the biomagnetic isolation of nucleic acids. The license, which is valid for the lifetime of the patents, grants NorDiag ASA certain rights with respect to the isolation and purification of nucleic acids using GE Healthcare's proprietary magnetic separation technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

GE Healthcare says that its patented methods for magnetic separation offer advantages over conventional techniques for the isolation and purification of biomolecules such as DNA and RNA from laboratory and clinical samples by enabling diagnosis from smaller-volume patient samples because they increase the yield of nucleic acid from disease-causing pathogens isolated from patient samples.

"This license recognizes the considerable value that our biomagnetic isolation technology can bring to the diagnosis of infectious diseases," said Eric Roman, General Manager, Genomic Sciences, GE Healthcare.

M rten Wigst l, CEO of NorDiag, said the license is important because it "shows shareholders that we have the capability to bring in external technologies from large players such as GE Healthcare to strengthen our technology base."

NorDiag is a biotech company with focus on gene-based diagnostics in the fields of cancer and infectious diseases. The company's first product in cancer diagnosis is Genefec for diagnosis of colorectal cancer. In addition the company has a product for automated sample preparation of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as applications for other infectious diseases in the product pipeline

• Enzo Biochem (New York) reported that its subsidiary, Enzo Life Sciences, and Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Illinois) have entered into an agreement covering the supply of certain of Enzo's products to Abbott Molecular for use in their fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) product line. The companies have also entered into a royalty bearing cross-licensing agreement of patents for FISH systems, comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis and labeling and detection technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The cross-licensing agreement includes Enzo patents directed towards its labeling and detection systems as they relate to Abbott's FISH platform. The license also provides Enzo with limited access to Abbott's FISH technology patents, CGH patents and various patents which relate to particular chromosome targets.

FISH technology is used to help diagnose and/or select therapy for certain cancers, such as breast, bladder, and leukemia, as well as to help diagnose genetic disorders. CGH is a molecular cytogenetic method for the analysis of chromosomal copy number changes (gains /losses) which are recognized as the underlying basis for congenital disorders and complex diseases such as cancer.

Dr. Elazar Rabbani CEO of Enzo Biochem, said, "for Enzo, what is especially important is that they represent further acknowledgment of Enzo's proprietary technology and product development capabilities, as well as the breadth of our intellectual property estate. In addition, this relationship complements and enhances the work we are doing in the development of single-copy DNA probes."

Enzo Biochem is engaged in R&D and manufacture of healthcare products based on molecular biology and genetic engineering techniques, and in providing diagnostic services to the medical community.

• Community Health Systems (CHS; Franklin, Tennessee) reported that one of its subsidiaries has acquired the assets of Porter Health (Valparaiso, Indiana), a system providing services to patients across Northwest Indiana. Porter Health is CHS' first acquisition in Indiana.

Hospital campuses are located in Valparaiso and Portage, Indiana, with a total of 338 licensed beds, and outpatient medical campuses in Chesterton, Demotte, and Hebron.

A 225-bed replacement facility for the Valparaiso hospital will be constructed no later than April 2011, Community Health said. The transaction was originally structured as an acquisition by Triad Hospitals (Plano, Texas) but transferred to CHS to facilitate timely closing following the $6.8 billion merger of Triad into CHS (MDD, March 20, 2007)

CHS operates general acute care hospitals in non-urban communities throughout the country.

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