• Abaxis (Union City, California), a medical products company making point-of-care blood analysis systems, reported entering into a distribution agreement with Cardinal Health (Dublin, Ohio) to sell the Piccolo Xpress blood chemistry analyzer and medical reagent discs. “This relationship will provide us the opportunity to expand market coverage within the point-of-care product segment,” said Chris Bernard, VP of sales and marketing for Abaxis. “It will also provide us the opportunity to improve our understanding of the ambulatory market and further extend the reach of our sales force.” Abaxis develops portable blood analysis systems for use in any human patient-care or veterinary setting to provide clinicians with rapid blood constituent measurements. The system consists of a compact, 6.9 kilogram (15 pounds), portable analyzer and a series of single-use plastic discs, called reagent discs that contain all the chemicals required to perform a panel of up to 13 tests on veterinary patients and 14 tests on human patients. The system can be operated with minimal training and performs multiple routine tests on whole blood, serum or plasma samples. The system provides test results in less than 14 minutes with the precision and accuracy equivalent to a clinical laboratory analyzer.

• Gentex (Carbondale, Pennsylvania) and Natvar (Clayton, North Carolina) have agreed to jointly develop materials for producing extruded medical tubing. Natvar will be granted a license to Gentex’s patented Clearweld laser welding technology to compound, produce and market near-infrared-absorbing resin additives for medical tubing applications. This new technology eliminates the need for solvents or adhesives currently used in assembly operations for many medical devices. Gentex is a private corporation with four operating units: Helmet Systems, Performance Materials, Respiratory Products and Electro-acoustic Products. Natvar develops tubing extrusion technology for medical and industrial markets. It specializes in providing close-tolerance tubing components for applications such as hemodialysis equipment, cardiovascular procedures, intravenous therapy, urinary drainage, and catheterization.

Greatbatch (Clarence, New York) and St. Jude Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) reported entering into an amended supplier partnering agreement, extending the current agreement between them through 2013 and establishing Greatbatch as the exclusive supplier of battery technology and the supplier of filtered feedthrough technology to St. Jude. The amendment provides for year-over-year price reductions on both technologies through collaboration on manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies. The parties have also agreed to jointly develop new technologies, including the introduction of a low-cost power solution to support future market requirements with an implementation date of no later than 2009. Thomas Hook, president/CEO of Greatbatch, said, “Our companies have enjoyed a strong working relationship for many years and we are committed to the partnership.” St. Jude has five major focus areas: cardiac rhythm management, atrial fibrillation, cardiac surgery, cardiology and neuromodulation. Greatbatch manufactures critical components used in implantable medical devices and other technical applications.

• Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp; Burlington, North Carolina) and ARCA Discovery (Denver), a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing genetically-targeted therapies for heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, reported a collaboration to develop a genetic test to aid in prescribing bucindolol, a genetically-targeted heart failure drug in development by ARCA. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. More than 400,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year in the U.S. With this agreement, LabCorp and ARCA said they are closer to bringing personalized medicine to patients suffering from heart failure and other forms of heart disease. The new test identifies common genetic variations of the alpha-2c and the beta-1 adrenergic receptors that regulate the human heart, the companies said.

• Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pennsylvania) and the Touro Infirmary (New Orleans) have signed an agreement through which Siemens will provide the Touro Infirmary with a long-term information technology (IT) managed services solution which includes management of Touro’s complete IT operations and the implementation of Siemens Med Administration Check solution. Siemens will work with Touro to create operational and financial efficiencies, and Touro and Siemens employees will cooperate in delivering IT solutions designed to meet the organization’s needs. Touro said it has implemented a range of Siemens Invision applications, using Invision to streamline information across clinical, financial, and administrative functions. Touro will also adopt Siemens Med Administration Check, designed by nurses and pharmacists, to support nursing medication administration workflow with online, point-of-care IT to reduce errors. Additionally, Siemens says it provides Touro with “leading-edge” diagnostic imaging technologies including integrated solutions for interventional cardiology, nuclear medicine and echocardiography.