A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Bioheart (Sunrise, Florida), which is developing cell therapies for heart repair, reported the signing of 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.

Varian (Palo Alto, California) reported a strategic relationship with Drager Safety (Lubeck, Germany) for the distribution of Varian's drugs of abuse testing products (DAT) in North America and Europe.

Drager said the distribution pact is expected to complement its current portfolio of breath alcohol detection products by adding quality DAT products to its screening capability for both alcohol and drugs within the law enforcement and safety environments.

Varian said its On-Site and OnTrak products have pioneered the use of drug screens that deliver rapid, reliable results where and when needed. With a patented design that incorporates unique latex technology, results are available within five minutes – surpassing the industry standard. These drug screens – urine or saliva – are used for pre-employment testing, reasonable cause or incident-driven assessment, routine workplace testing or court-mandated compliance.

In other agreements news:

• GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) and Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota) reported a program for clinical development of high-field MRI of the body.

This collaboration, announced at the 14th Annual Scientific Meeting and Exhibition of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (Berkeley, California) in Seattle, is designed to help realize the potential of 3.0T (Tesla) MR systems as a diagnostic tool, particularly for the abdomen, heart, breast and musculoskeletal system, GE and Mayo said.

The collaboration, through the Body MRI Advanced Development Unit at Mayo Clinic, will develop and apply the most clinically viable techniques for 3T MR imaging, the highest strength magnetic field in clinical use, and allow Mayo Clinic patients to benefit from all that high field MRI technology can offer in accurately diagnosing conditions such as breast and prostate cancer, liver disease and coronary artery disease.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Pittsburgh) reported its ongoing relationship with Elekta (Norcross, Georgia), which is designed to advance UPMC's leadership in the fast-growing field of extracranial radiosurgery utilizing the Elekta Axesse system, the company said.

The Elekta Axesse system provides robotic image-guided radiosurgery for the spine with free breathing delivery, which is designed to "reduce treatment time and complexity," the company said.