A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

DR Systems (San Diego) reported that it has been awarded six new RIS/PACS contracts totaling nearly $4 million.

The facilities awarding the contracts were: Washington Hospital Healthcare System (Fremont, California); Halifax Hospital Port-Orange (Port Orange, Florida); Pocatello Radiology (Pocatello, Idaho); Fidelis Radiology (Tulsa, Oklahoma); and Portneuf Imaging Center (Pocatello, Idaho).

The largest contracts included Washington Hospital Healthcare System ($1,393,650), Halifax Hospital Port-Orange ($964,000), and Radiology Associates of Tallahassee ($804,300).

DR Systems provides scalable medical imaging and information systems for diagnostic imaging centers and hospitals.

In other contract news:

Invitrogen (Carlsbad, California) reported that its subsidiary, Invitrogen Federal Systems, has received a $1,243,000 extension to an existing contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to support research using Invitrogen's proprietary ProtoArray protein microarray technology to detect and analyze biothreat agents such as hemorrhagic fever viruses, poxviruses and Bacillus anthracis (anthrax).

The research builds upon work conducted under the original Technical Assistance Agreement for $970,000, awarded in January 2006, focused on the detection and analysis of smallpox and Yersinia pestis (plague).

Greg Lucier, CEO and chairman of Invitrogen, said that the company has developed a broad suite of biodefense technologies "that can detect various biothreat agents in air, food and water."

Its ProtoArray product is a high-density protein microarray that can analyze entire pathogen and yeast proteomes or up to 5,000 human proteins in a single experiment, while other currently available protein microarrays are limited to 500 proteins. They also can be used to simultaneously analyze proteins, antibodies or small molecules, simplifying work that traditionally took months to achieve into a single day. In addition to biodefense applications, Invitrogen uses ProtoArray to identify protein biomarkers associated with cancer and autoimmune diseases as well as in drug discovery research and functional genomics.

The research, directed by James Meegan, PhD, senior director of R&D at Invitrogen, is designed to support the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's mission to provide solutions to medical problems of importance to the American soldier.

In grant news:

• Omicia (Emeryville, California), a company specializing in personalized medicine based "on genomic insights" has been awarded a $788,517 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland) to refine the disease marker genome annotation system successfully prototyped by the company during Phase I of the grant.

Omicia's Disease Marker Genome Annotation System uses information from databases that catalog genetic variations — such as the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database — to map disease information directly onto the human genome sequence. Omicia said it has succeeded in linking more human genes to disease phenotypes than any previously published approach, calling this "an important step towards individualized healthcare."

In this project, Omicia is developing software that accurately maps known human genetic mutations derived from the literature to the genome, and associating each with a specific medical condition.

"The major problem in the newly emerging field of personalized medicine," said chief scientific officer Martin Reese, PhD, "is not lack of data — it's too much data. Our Disease Marker Genome Annotation System provides a way to identify the functional inherited mutations most strongly associated with serious diseases such as atherosclerosis, so that eventually physicians will be able to detect these conditions earlier and offer better treatment options."

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