A Medical Device Daily

MDS (Toronto) reported signing an agreement to sell its Canadian laboratory services business, MDS Diagnostic Services , one of Canada’s major laboratory service providers, to Borealis Infrastructure Management (Toronto) in a C $1.325 billion transaction.

MDS said the sale is designed to shift the company’s focus to the life sciences market.” It said that this strategy — initiated in September 2005 — includes streamlining its cost structure and selling non-strategic assets. The deal is projected to close by the end of January 2007.

MDS Diagnostic Services has annualized revenues of C $335 million and more than 2,900 employees.

The spin-off “represents a major milestone for MDS in the transition to a global life sciences company,” said Stephen DeFalco, president/CEO of MDS. “We will be able to focus exclusively on life sciences markets, where incredible advances are being made to diagnose and treat diseases.”

Michael Rolland, senior vice president of Borealis, said, “We look forward to working with the talented professional staff at MDS Diagnostic Services to ensure that they continue to lead the industry in the delivery of laboratory services that support the healthcare needs of Canadians.”

From the total transaction price of C $1.325 billion, MDS expects to realize about C $1.052 billion, after provision for taxes, expenses and amounts attributable to minority interests. It said that a portion of these funds may be retained for up to 18 months, contingent specific transition obligations of MDS.

Customary closing conditions include approval from the shareholders of LPBP, the limited partner of the entity that owns the assets used in the Ontario Laboratory Business.

MDS said that following deal close it will make changes to its capital structure and will use C $500 million of the proceeds to fund a one-time share buyback, subject to regulatory approval, and it will discontinue the payment of its quarterly dividend. It said it will invest the remainder of the proceeds in its life sciences businesses.

MDS claims market leadership in drug discovery instruments, molecular imaging, radiopharmaceutics and contract research services, providing products and services for development of new drugs and diagnostics.

It reports $1 billion in life sciences revenues and that following the spin-off it will generate 95% of its revenue from global markets by the end of the fiscal year.

It sees higher growth rates in its three business units: MDS Sciex , a provider of analytical instruments; MDS Nordion , a provider of medical isotopes and manufacturer of radiotherapeutics; and MDS Pharma Services , a provider of early-stage drug discovery tools.

Borealis bills itself as a leader in infrastructure investing, with assets in a wide variety of industries.

Medtronic wins Aussie OK for Endeaver DES

Medtronic (Minneapolis) reported receiving regulatory approval from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration to begin selling the Endeavor drug-eluting coronary stent (DES) system.

It said that the first commercial implants occurred last week at Monash Medical Centre (Melbourne). Monash and several other clinical sites throughout Australia and New Zealand initiated the Endeavor first-in-man experience in early 2003.

Medtronic said that with the approval, the Endeavor DES is commercially available in more than 100 countries, and the device the — currently in clinical trials in the U.S. — is anticipated to receive FDA approval next year.

“The approval of the Endeavor drug-eluting stent is an important event for physicians and patients in Australia, as it brings a new medical technology to thousands of patients who suffer from cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Ian Meredith, professor of medicine at Monash and principal investigator for ENDEAVOR I, the first study in a multi-phase trial evaluating the Endeavor. He performed the first commercial implant, and said: “I have followed the data for Endeavor very closely over the past three years and it has provided impressive clinical outcomes. The stent is effective at reducing restenosis and it has been proven to be among the safest stents on the market.”

He added: “Australia has been at the forefront of cutting-edge medical research for many years and I’m proud of the role the clinical centers have played in the development of this medical technology.”

About 38,000 stents are implanted in Australian patients each year.

Max Muhs, vice president of Medtronic’s vascular business in AsiaPacific, said that the Endeavor stent would be available immediately. “We’re ready to supply the Australian market and very proud to make the Endeavor stent available to physicians and patients here.”

Long-term data published recently in Circulation demonstrated excellent clinical outcomes for the Endeavor, with sustained efficacy, low rates of adverse events and outstanding deliverability.

The Endeavor DES is made of a cobalt alloy and built on the same platform as the Medtronic Drive bare metal stent. In addition to the drug compound zotarolimus (ABT-578), Endeavor is coated with phosphorylcholine, a polymer designed to simulate the outside surface of a red blood cell and mimic the structure of the natural cell membrane, leading to an ideal healing response, according to Medtronic.

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