A Medical Device Daily

MRCP Diagnostics (Phoenix) reported entering into a licensing agreement with Biomarker Technologies (also Phoenix) allowing Biomarker to use MRCP's protein marker, riboflavin carrier protein, in conjunction with Biomarker's blood diagnostic forbreast cancer, called the BT Test. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Biomarker will use the MRCP marker only for the diagnosis of breast cancer.

The BT Test is a blood test that looks at five cancer-associated biomarkers which, when analyzed in combination with each other and evaluated using the company's data processing protocol, has capability for detecting breast cancer better than either digital or film mammography.

Biomarker launched its second clinical study the week of April 23, which will involve more than 930 women and is expected to take four to six months to complete.

William Gartner, president of MRCP, said, “Due to the high sensitivity and the early stage differentiation of breast cancer demonstrated by MRCP, Biomarker Technologies is investigating the incorporation of this marker into their latest clinical study as a potential contributor to the BT Test's panel of markers. We will be evaluating MRCP both as an independent marker and as a synergistic component to the BT Test.”

Donald Weber, MRCP's vice president of licensing, said, “We expect the combined BT/MRCP Test to demonstrate an accuracy of greater than 90% with both superior sensitivity and specificity. As the first blood diagnostic test of its kind, this test will play a critical role in assisting physicians in the early diagnosis of breast cancer.”

Biomarker Technologies is focused on the diagnosis of breast cancer and, it said, “poised to bring the BT Test to market either by licensing a large global provider or through FDA's Reference Lab Program.”

MRCP is an in vitro diagnostic company focused on commercializing a blood test for women's cancers, which include breast, ovarian, uterine and cervical cancers.

Edwards Lifesciences (Irvine, California) reported that its board has authorized a new share repurchase program to repurchase up to 4 million shares of outstanding stock.

The company said it expects to continue repurchasing shares under its existing 2 million share repurchase program, initiated in September 2005. Under that authorization, Edwards has repurchased more than 1.1 million shares for a total of $48.5 million. Since becoming a publicly traded company in 2000, the Edwards' board has authorized five repurchase programs totaling 12 million shares, including the one announced yesterday. As of April 30, 2006 the company had about 58.9 million common shares outstanding.

Edwards Lifesciences, bills itself as the No. 1 heart valve company, with a focus also on peripheral vascular disease and critical care technologies.

Manor Care (Toledo, Ohio) reported that it plans to issue $250 million aggregate principal amount of convertible senior notes due 2036 in a private offering, with closing of the offering to take place on or about May 17, 2006.

Manor Care intends to use the proceeds from the offering to purchase about $244 million of Manor Care common stock, including about $125 million expected to be sold by purchasers of the convertible notes concurrently with the offering.

The company also reported that its board has approved an additional $300 million in share repurchase authority through Dec. 31, 2007, in addition to the $136 million available under previous authorizations.

Manor Care, through its operating group HCR Manor Care, is a provider of short-term post-acute and long-term care.

Dentsply International (York, Pennsylvania) reported that its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split, effected through the distribution of one newly-issued share of common stock, par value $.01 per share, for every one outstanding share of common stock held by stockholders of record as of June 26, and payable on July 17.

As a result of the stock split, the company's outstanding common stock will increase to about 160 million shares.

Dentsply manufactures products for the dental market.