• Athersys (Cleveland) reported that the Addvance division of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (Vancouver, British Columbia) has made an investment in the company to support the development of cell-based products for treating cardiovascular disease. The initial work will focus on applying Athersys’ adult-derived stem cell product, MultiStem, to treat patients who suffer a myocardial infarction (MI). The companies will jointly manage development activities, and will share clinical development costs. In addition, upon the achievement of certain development and commercialization milestones, Athersys will be eligible to receive milestone payments, and the companies will share profits on all developed products. After completing preclinical studies, it is anticipated that human clinical trials applying MultiStem toward the treatment of MI could begin in 2007.

• Bioheart (Sunrise, Florida), a developer of cell therapies for heart repair, reported signing a patent licensing agreement with Tricardia (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) for patents covering an improved injection needle. The needle will be attached to Bioheart’s SR-200 MyoCath needle injection catheter system, which is designed to deliver biological solutions to the heart. The agreement gives Bioheart the worldwide exclusive rights to four issued U.S. patents and corresponding foreign filings that cover the needle and its methods of use in the field of delivering therapeutic compositions to the heart.

• Fukuda Denshi (Tokyo) and Masimo (Irvine, California) have entered into a licensing agreement under which Fukuda Denshi will integrate Masimo’s Signal Extraction (SET) pulse oximetry technology into its future patient monitors. The companies also reported the availability of the Masimo SET technology in Fukuda Denshi’s Dynascope DS-7300 bedside monitor. The DS-7300 will incorporate all monitoring parameters contained in the Masimo SET Radical pulse oximeter, including Perfusion Index, a relative assessment of blood flow at the monitoring site, and Signal IQ technology, which allows clinicians to continuously monitor pulse identification and signal quality during low perfusion and patient motion conditions.

• GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) and St. Jude Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) reported that they have entered a “significant development and collaboration agreement” that is intended to bring an integrated imaging and monitoring capability to cardiac catheterization labs around the world. The companies said they will co-develop a state-of-the-art cardiovascular ultrasound imaging system with fully integrated intracardiac echocardiography imaging capabilities, intended for use in treating patients suffering from heart disease. The device is specifically designed to treat heart rhythm disease, which affects more than 8 million people globally. Through the collaboration, GE’s ultrasound technology will be int egrated with St. Jude’s catheter technology to provide physicians with real-time ultrasound imaging inside the heart, with direct visualization of both blood flow and other catheters used during cardiac procedures.

• Response Biomedical (Vancouver, British Columbia) and Shionogi & Co.. reported that the companies have entered into a marketing and supply agreement to commercialize a rapid quantitative RAMP test in Japan for BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide), a cardiac marker test to assist in the diagnosis and management of congestive heart failure. The companies also said that the RAMP test for BNP received regulatory approval in Japan, allowing for its immediate market launch in that country. With exclusive rights to BNP diagnostics in Japan, Shionogi funded the development of the BNP test on Response Biomedical’s RAMP platform and secured Japanese regulatory clearance. Shionogi will market the clinical point-of-care diagnostic system, manufactured exclusively by Response Biomedical, both directly as well as through its own network of distribution partners under the trademark Shionospot BNP.

• Stereotaxis (St. Louis), maker of cardiology instrument control systems for use in a hospital’s interventional surgical suite, said it will co-sponsor a post-market, prospective, randomized outcomes-based clinical study to determine the role of magnetic navigation in LV lead placement optimization with Medtronic (Minneapolis). The study will pair magnetically-guided LV lead implant techniques with select physiological parameters to measure response to pacing in multiple sites within the coronary venous system to determine the best pacing location. This optimized LV lead implant will be compared with conventional lead implant techniques to determine the difference in chronic response to optimized LV lead implant vs. conventional LV lead implants. The study is expected to begin enrollment in the second half of this year.

• Terumo Cardiovascular Systems reported that it is now the exclusive distributor for the SmartPReP 2 platelet concentration system, developed by Harvest Technologies (Plymouth, Massachusetts), in the U.S. and Canada for the cardiovascular and perfusion markets. The SmartPReP2 System incorporates a floating shelf disposable technology which provides the highest platelet concentration, in the shortest time, and with the least variability to accelerate the wound healing process. Terumo makes products for the cardiac surgery, interventional and neurovascular markets.

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