A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Cytyc (Marlborough, Massachusetts), a provider of surgical and diagnostic products targeting women’s health and cancer diagnostics, reported a new multi-year agreement with Quest Diagnostics (Lyndhurst, New Jersey) for the ThinPrep Pap Test.

Quest said it first introduced the ThinPrep Pap Test in 1997 and has been instrumental in driving acceptance of liquid-based Pap testing among physicians nationally. The new agreement will run through the end of 2010. Additional terms were not disclosed.

“I am very pleased to continue our relationship with Quest Diagnostics and to once again establish multi-year terms,” said Patrick Sullivan, Cytyc’s president/CEO and chairman. “I believe this agreement is mutually advantageous for both companies and enables our high quality products to efficiently reach patients throughout Quest Diagnostics’ extensive laboratory network.”

In addition to the new ThinPrep Pap Test contract, Quest has agreed to evaluate the ThinPrep Imaging System at selected laboratory sites. The ThinPrep system is an integrated, interactive computer system that assists cytotechnologists and pathologists in the primary screening and diagnosis of ThinPrep Pap Test slides.

Cytyc’s products cover a range of cancer and women’s health applications, including cervical cancer screening, treatment of excessive menstrual bleeding, radiation treatment of early-stage breast cancer, and radiation treatment of patients with malignant brain tumors.

In other agreements news:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Institut Pasteur (IP; Paris) have entered an agreement to extend their collaboration in health research and the management of inventions arising from this research.

The institutions said they have been collaborators in the field of HIV/AIDS research for more than 20 years.

The extended agreement initially will facilitate the patenting and licensing of a large portfolio of intellectual property held by NIH and IP in the field of HIV-1 diagnostics. The agreement provides a new framework for further support and encouragement of collaborative research in a variety of areas by leading scientists at both the NIH and IP.

HIV diagnostics are important to maintaining the safety of the blood supply through donor screening and by providing early diagnosis and monitoring of HIV infection so that patients may benefit from early treatment regimens.

To date, effective HIV-1 diagnostic test kits based upon technology licensed from IP and NIH have been distributed worldwide by many companies, thus saving millions of lives. As the science of understanding the HIV-1 virus has progressed, new technologies arising from the laboratories of IP and NIH and subsequently developed by diagnostics companies now allow these tests to be provided with increased sensitivity and specificity but at a lower cost.

In 2006, 2.9 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.

Volcano (Rancho Cordova, California) and ev3 (Plymouth, Minnesota) reported a joint marketing and distribution agreement. Volcano will sell ev3’s SpiderFX Embolic Protection Device in conjunction with its Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) and Functional Measurement (FM) devices for use in saphenous vein grafts (SVG’s) in the U.S.

SVG’s are commonly used during open-heart surgery to bypass blocked coronary arteries. As many as one-third of patients experience significant blockages in the grafted vessel(s) within 12 years following bypass surgery, and as a result, may require an endovascular procedure such as balloon angioplasty or stenting. Embolic protection devices are used to contain and remove the embolic debris that may become dislodged during these and other endovascular procedures.

The Volcano IVUS/FM systems provide real-time data that enable endovascular specialists to select, guide, and evaluate the appropriate treatment of vascular diseases. Volcano’s IVUS device is a catheter-based system that allows physicians to acquire real time images from within a blood vessel. These images provide detailed and accurate measurements of the vessel size, as well as both the area and volume of plaque disease in the vessel. The Volcano FM device is a guidewire-based system that analyzes blood pressure and flow parameters from within a blood vessel during a diagnostic or therapeutic endovascular procedure.

The SpiderFX is FDA-cleared for use during the endovascular treatment of both SVG’s and carotid arteries.

Invitrogen (Carlsbad, California) has partnered with Emiliem (Emeryville, California) to screen the company’s multi-kinase inhibitors using Invitrogen’s SelectScreen platform. Invitrogen will perform biochemical kinase screening, cellular pathway profiling and P450 screening of Emiliem’s compounds targeting cancer. Financial details of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed.

Invitrogen’s SelectScreen profiling and screening service integrates enzyme collections and cell-lines with bioassay technologies to accelerate drug discovery programs. The first phase of the agreement will use the SelectScreen kinase profiling system to confirm specificity and potency of compounds in the Emiliem pipeline created through its K-STAR technology — a drug design platform for creating compounds that inhibit multiple kinases and other cellular targets known to be important in cancer progression. The second phase will use Invitrogen’s SelectScreen cell-based pathway profiling service to interrogate the effects of Emiliem’s compounds on biological pathways and the company’s cytochrome P450 profiling service to determine the inhibitory profiles of lead molecules against drug metabolizing liver enzymes.

Emiliem develops molecularly targeted oncology drugs. Invitrogen provides products and services that support academic, government and pharma research.

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