The Bayer HealthCare Diagnostics Division (Tarrytown, New York), a member of the Bayer Group (Leverkusen, Germany) and Inverness Medical Innovations (Waltham, Massachusetts), a manufacturer of diagnostic products, reported signing four agreements to broaden their assay menu offerings worldwide in the diagnostics arena. The first agreement will expand access for physicians and healthcare providers worldwide, excluding Japan, to diagnose congestive heart failure using a point -of-care assay for B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) testing. Recent research has shown that elevated levels of BNP are an indicator of heart failure, thus providing physicians with an important diagnostic tool in the early detection and management of heart failure. BNP is a rapidly expanding area for cardiovascular testing. The BNP molecule is physiologically active and serves as a biological response to cardiovascular stress.

CardiacScience (Bothell, Washington) and School Health (Hanover Park, Illinois) reported an agreement under which School Health will sell and distribute Cardiac Science's Powerheart automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to schools and school districts in the U.S. School Health provides AEDs for schools. Its turnkey AED solutions encompass not only equipment, but also site assessments, staff and student training, emergency response planning, and ongoing quality monitoring, the company said. Cardiac Science develops a family of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic cardiology devices and systems, including AEDs, electrocardiographs, stress test systems, Holter monitoring systems, hospital defibrillators, cardiac rehabilitation telemetry systems, patient monitor, defibrillators and cardiology data management systems.

Lifestream Technologies (Post Falls, Idaho), a supplier of cholesterol monitors, said that it has entered an agreement with GenExel-Sein (Seoul, South Korea) for the production of the new Lifestream Three-In-One Blood Pressure monitor. The Three-in-One Blood Pressure monitor will measure blood pressure, cholesterol and HDL, all in less than three minutes. Consumer awareness for cholesterol testing can be significantly expanded through this merger. Between 5 million and 7 million blood pressure monitors are sold each year in the U. S., or 14 million worldwide. GenExel ibusiness units provide products for home medical diagnosis and engage in the discovery and development of pharmaceutical products with an emphasis on central system disorders (such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease). Lifestream said it has also entered into an agreement with Polymer Technology Systems (Indianapolis) for supply of test strips for its new Cholesterol/HDL monitor.

Merit Medical Systems (South Jordan, Utah) a maker of disposable accessories used primarily in cardiology and radiology procedures, reported that it was recently awarded a new agreement for manifolds and related kits with HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG; Brentwood, Tennessee) effective this month. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to extend our relationship with HPG and look forward to continuing to provide these important products to HPG members around the country," said Fred Lampropoulos, Merit's chairman and CEO.

Response Biomedical (Vancouver, British Columbia) said it has appointed LXU Healthcare (West Boylston, Massachusetts), formerly known as Primesource Healthcare, a provider of medical equipment and specialty devices, as its exclusive distributor for the RAMP Cardiovascular Tests in a number of key markets in the U.S. Response Biomedical has received FDA and Canadian regulatory clearance for its fluorescence-based RAMP Reader for general clinical use and three RAMP Cardiac Marker Tests for detecting troponin I, CK-MB and myoglobin. LXU Medical, LXU Healthcare's Medical-Surgical division, also will distribute the company's NT-proBNP test which is expected to be available toward the end of 2006. The quantitative tests are designed to assist in the rapid diagnosis of a broad array of cardiovascular conditions including congestive heart failure, heart attack or acute myocardial infarction, and risk stratification of patients with acute coronary syndrome or heart failure.