A Medical Device Daily

Bayer Schering Pharma (Berlin) has signed a license and option agreement with Taisho Pharmaceutical, Nihon Nohyaku and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) in Japan to develop novel imaging compounds for the detection of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other disorders associated with neuroinflammation, such as multiple sclerosis.

“We are convinced that innovations in molecular imaging have the potential to fundamentally improve the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s disease,” said Hans Maier, MD, head of the Diagnostic Imaging business unit at Bayer Schering Pharma. “[We are] already pursuing the development of tracers targeting amyloid plaques, a hallmark of this disease. Imaging of neuroinflammation as another important pathology will complement these activities.”

He said the Japanese agreement “underscores our commitment to Alzheimer’s patients by developing [new] diagnostic methods for the early detection of the disease.”

Taisho Pharmaceutical, Nihon Nohyaku and the NIRS, a government-owned research institution, jointly own patent rights for a compound class that may be applied for various non-invasive imaging technologies, such as positron emission tomography (PET) scanning.

Under the terms of the agreement Bayer Schering Pharma receives worldwide exclusive rights to develop and market the respective products for use with PET scanning technology.

Bayer Schering said epidemiological surveys estimate that 24.3 million people suffer from dementia today worldwide, with about 4.6 million new cases occuring every year. Such studies indicate the number affected will double every 20 years to an estimated 81.1 million by 2040. Of these cases, 50% to 75% are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

In other Bayer Schering Pharma news, Bayer Schering Pharma Aktiengesellschaft — formerly Schering Aktiengesellschaft — has filed a solicitation/recommendation statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with respect to the offer of cash compensation by Bayer Schering GmbH — formerly Dritte BV GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer Aktiengesellschaft — in connection with the domination and profit and loss transfer agreement between Bayer Schering GmbH and Bayer Schering Pharma Aktiengesellschaft.

Holders of ordinary shares and American depositary shares of Bayer Schering Pharma Aktiengesellschaft may obtain the solicitation/recommendation statement and other filed documents free of charge at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website, www.sec.gov, and at Bayer Schering Pharma Aktiengesellschaft’s website, www.schering.de.

New CIS module for anesthesia

VisualMED Clinical Solutions (Montreal, Quebec) has released a new clinical module to support inpatient and ambulatory anesthesia practice. The module, which has been in development for five months, has been developed in conjunction with staff anesthesiologists at one of the company’s client hospitals.

The company said: “Though the VisualMED Clinical System has been used to document pre-operative, post-operative and intra-operative care since its inception, the system is now at the fingertips of the anesthesiologist. Real-time, by-the-bedside data entry is supported, as is automated entry of vital signs and gas exchange parameters.”

Data entry as well as medical record notes are entered exclusively through touch and are automatically integrated into the electronic patient record.

Werner Pfisterer, MD, a staff anesthesiologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital (New York), said, “Anesthesia has become so complex that it is increasingly difficult to fully document every aspect of entire procedures. This clinical module will allow practitioners to document more completely the quality of care provided to patients undergoing surgery.”

VisualMED Chairman Gerard Dab said last month that new modules released in 1Q07 would be “a critical step in our strategy to diversify our product lines.” With respect to the new Anesthesia module, Dab said, “Anesthesia systems have in the past primarily been sold as stand-alone systems. The fact that our module can be fully integrated with any clinical system gives potential customers a low-risk way to learn about our enterprise-wide solution.”

He said the company is “still on track to triple our install base from five to 15 sites by the end of this calendar year, and we expect to generate revenue around the $1.8 million mark for the current fiscal year.”

VisualMED said its Clinical Information System “is the only solution of its kind to have been wholly designed by practicing medical staff in terms of both workflow and user interface. [It is] the only CIS that can be implemented across a single care unit, hospital or region,” with unique design features allowing system decision support to conform to local practice, yet incorporate best practice guidelines across a region as a turnkey solution, depending on needs of individual clients.”

TheraSphere treatment gets 1st use in India

MDS Nordion (Ottawa, Ontario), a global provider of medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals used to diagnose and treat disease, said its TheraSphere cancer treatment has been used in India for the first time, marking the beginning of the product’s broader introduction into that country.

Three patients were the first to be treated for primary liver cancer in India using TheraSphere. Two of the infusions were conducted at the Lilavati Hospital and Research Center, while the third took place at the Jaslok Hospital and Research Center (both Mumbai, India).

Comprised of tiny radioactive glass beads, TheraSphere is injected by a physician into the main artery of the patient’s liver using a catheter. This allows the treatment to be delivered directly to the tumor, resulting in fewer side effects than traditional cancer therapy.

MDS Nordion said TheraSphere will be used in India to treat both primary and secondary liver cancers.

The company also was one of 89 Ontario-based companies and organizations participating in a trade mission to India last week, organized by government of Ontario.

“The first-time use of TheraSphere in India represents an incredible opportunity for us to expand the use of this innovative treatment to help people in India and increase MDS Nordion’s global market reach,” said company President Steve West. “It also supports our strategy to explore and capitalize on opportunities in the health and life sciences sectors in this growing market.”