Braun (Kronberg, Germany), part of Procter and Gamble (P&G; Cincinnati), and Kaz (New York), have formed a partnership under which Kaz has acquired Braun's blood pressure monitoring and thermometer business. The partnership also includes a licensing agreement between the two companies, in which the products will be marketed by Kaz under the Braun name. The business includes Thermoscan digital thermometers and wrist blood pressure monitors and currently represents about 5% of Braun's global sales. The companies said the agreement was a decision by both firms enabling them to focus on their primary activities. "Adding Braun thermometers and blood pressure monitors as well as its strong brand equity to Kaz's healthcare portfolio will be a key driver to further grow our worldwide business," said Richard Katzman, CEO of Kaz. "Kaz is especially excited about the growth opportunities this brings to our European business." Kaz said it is currently the U.S. market leader in digital thermometers; with the addition of Braun Thermoscan it says it will become the "worldwide thermometer leader." Braun and its vendors will continue manufacturing thermometers and blood pressure monitors for a "significant" period of time after the transaction. Following this transaction, there will be a transition period in which Braun will provide support to Kaz to ensure business continuity and maintain customer service.

Micrus Endovascular (San Jose, California) reported that it has acquired certain assets and business of privately held VasCon (Doral, Florida), a maker of vascular access and delivery devices. Micrus Design Technology, a subsidiary of Micrus formed to acquire the assets, will develop and manufacture neurovascular catheter products for Micrus, including Micrus' steerable catheter, the Enzo. VasCon's existing cardiovascular products will continue to be sold through non-Micrus distribution channels. Micrus, through its subsidiary, acquired assets of VasCon for about $5 million, in cash and Micrus stock, and performance based earn-out payments over three years. Certain VasCon personnel have become employees of Micrus Design Technology. Mitch Auran, formerly VasCon's president and CFO, has been appointed VP of the newly formed Micrus subsidiary. Founded in 2000, VasCon has made diagnostic catheters, guiding catheters, PTCA catheters, catheter sheath introducers, neurological stimulators, hydrophilic coating and stent deployment systems under private label, as well as for a list of medical device customers.

MIV Therapeutics (MIVT; Atlanta/Vancouver, British Columbia), heretofore focused on the development of a material to be used in a drug-eluting stent (DES), says it has acquired a key stent platform for its technology with the purchase of Biosync Scientific (Gujarat, India), a developer of interventional cardiology products, including stents. MIVT said that Biosync provides it a "highly competitive" bare metal stent (BMS) platform that compares favorably with the best BMS devices available today. Both Biosync's stainless steel and thin-strut cobalt chromium stent platforms are CE-marked and available in other countries where the CE mark is recognized. MIVT said it will use the Biosync stent platform as the underlying BMS technology for its proprietary biocompatible polymer-free DES. It said the acquisition is its latest step in its plan to become a world leader in the $8 billion-plus interventional cardiology market. In September, MIVT entered into a formal agreement to acquire Vascore Medical (Suzhou, China), a manufacturer and distributor of interventional cardiology devices. MIVT has developed a device coating, hydroxyapatite (HAp), designed to protect surrounding tissue from potentially harmful interactions with BMS. It is a bioactive porous material that makes up the bone mineral and matrix of teeth and used as a bone substitute material and for coatings on implantable fixation devices in various device applications. In November, MIVT reported results of an animal study of two of its DES technologies comparing stents coated with its polymer-free DES to the Cypher stent from Cordis (Miami Lakes, Florida). The company said that the study demonstrated that both of MIVT's proprietary, polymer-free, Sirolimus eluting coatings are at least as good as the Cypher and it demonstrated its coatings' potential and efficacy when compared to Cypher. The four-week porcine study, performed by the Department of Cardiology, Thoraxcenter, Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus, the Netherlands), indicated that three variations of MIV's polymer-free drug-eluting coatings were at least as effective as — and in some cases, better - than the Cypher. MIVT recently reported that it intends to begin the first human implants of a HAp Nano Film Coated stent early in 2007. Biosync was founded by Rajesh Vaishnav, a developer of many BMS and DES systems. He will be CEO of Biosync.

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