A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Abaxis (Union City, California), a 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 or veterinary care setting to provide rapid blood constituent measurements. The system consists of a 6.9 kilogram (15 pounds) portable analyzer and a series of single-use 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, Abaxis said, and it provides test results in less than 14 minutes with accuracy equivalent to a clinical lab analyzer.

In other agreements news:

  • Sonora Medical Systems (Longmont, Colorado), a subsidiary of Misonix (Farmingdale, New York), has entered into an agreement with Medical Diagnostic Technologies (MDT; Las Vegas) to bring to market a test device designed to troubleshoot diagnostic ultrasound systems.

The companies will collaborate on a product to be marketed as FirstAssist, expected to be available in the U.S. this summer, they said. Sonora supplies after-market products, services and test equipment to the medical imaging market. MDT develops computer-aided detection products.

The companies will jointly develop a product to test all imaging and Doppler modalities of an ultrasound system and analyze signals displayed on the ultrasound monitor for various operational characteristics claimed by original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in their published specifications. FirstAssist will connect to ultrasound systems in the same receptacle in which probes are normally inserted and will have the capability of interfacing with laptop computers, enabling more user-friendly maintenance and accurate in-service system testing.

FirstAssist will serve as complementary product to Sonora's ultrasound probe-testing device FirstCall, used by more than 100 major hospitals nationwide, according to the company.

FirstCall tests probes independently of the ultrasound system, while FirstAssist will test the ultrasound system independently of the probe. The FirstAssist device supports intuitive processing as it will connect and test the ultrasound system as if the probe that delivers ultrasonic energy were actually connected and in service.

G. Wayne Moore, president/CEO of Sonora, said, "This new product will obviate the need for hospitals to rely upon the ultrasound OEM for after warranty service contracts, thereby providing a substantial cost savings annually for hospitals and clinics. The combination of Sonora's hardware design and the sophisticated image processing algorithms developed by MDT will set a new standard in ultrasound quality control and really empower hospital biomedical engineers to troubleshoot and repair even the most technologically intense ultrasound system."

  • StatSure Diagnostic Systems (Framingham, Massachusetts) reported that Inverness Medical (Waltham, Massachusetts) has introduced StatSure's barrel technology to the U.S. market.

In a deal signed in September 2006, Inverness became the exclusive, worldwide distributor of StatSure's platform for use in a point-of-care HIV test. Chembio Diagnostic Systems (Medford, New York) is the exclusive manufacturer of this test for Inverness. StatSure's technology will be marketed by Inverness under the Inverness Clearview brand.

Clearview Complete HIV 1/2 is an FDA-approved, qualitative screening test for the detection of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human whole blood, serum and plasma. The test utilizes a single lateral flow test strip that displays its result through visual observation. Clearview Complete HIV 1/2 is a single-use, self contained closed system for the collection, processing and analysis of the physiologic sample designed to provide the safest and easiest product of its type. The StatSure format is unique in that there is no transfer of the sample to the test, the company said. The sample is absorbed directly into the test by capillary action with no exposure to sample as the blood sample is enclosed within the barrel.

StatSure develops rapid immunoassays for the detection of sexually transmitted and other infectious diseases, and has developed a product line of oral-fluid collection devices.

  • Premier Purchasing Partners (Charlotte, North Carolina) reported that new agreements for bedside procedure trays and needles have been awarded to Cardinal Health (McGaw Park, Illinois) and Tyco Healthcare (Mansfield, Massachusetts).

The new portfolio combines several former contracting categories: lumbar puncture trays, bone marrow biopsy trays, procedure trays and procedure needles. These 36-month agreements offer improved pricing to acute-care and continuum-of-care members of the Premier alliance.