A Medical Device Daily

Vision-Sciences (Natick, Massachusetts) reported the termination of its exclusive distributorship agreement, dated Dec. 29, 2004, with the Medtronic (Minneapolis) gastroenterology/urology business (MGU) relating to the distribution of Vision Sciences' Flexible Cystoscope and Slide-On EndoSheath System in the U.S. and Canada.

The termination was effective May 1. MGU informed Vision Sciences that it has “modified” its strategy to place greater focus on therapies and plans to narrow its overall uro-diagnostics product offering, which currently includes the Vision Sciences system.

MGU said it will continue to take customer orders from the existing base and provide technical phone support to that customer base for the six months following the termination date.

MGU said that termination of the distributorship agreement with does not affect Vision Sciences' ongoing exclusive distribution arrangement with Medtronic relating to Vision Sciences' ENT products.

In other agreement news: Acacia Research (Newport Beach, California) reported that its CombiMatrix group will collaborate with the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL; Pullman/Puyallup, Washington) on influenza testing.

It said that a broad interagency effort is being undertaken to monitor the Pacific Flyway, to determine if the seasonal migration of birds will bring the highly pathogenic Eurasian strain of avian influenza (H5N1) into North America and the U.S.

The effort is being coordinated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, and the Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with state regulatory agencies.

The Pacific Flyway includes Alaska, Western Canada, and the West Coast of the U.S. including Washington state. There is concern that the seasonal migration of birds will bring the pathogenic Eurasian H5N1 avian flu into this region of the world through the Pacific Flyway.

The current validated protocol for verification of a pathogenic influenza strain requires performing an initial PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to determine the existence of matrix protein gene, which is common to all influenza A infections. If matrix protein is present, then a successive PCR for hemagglutinin is performed to determine if the H5 gene is also present. While this part of the procedure can be completed quickly, verification and further typing after a positive result requires that the sample be cultured and sequenced, necessitating roughly another week or more to complete.

CombiMatrix says that its influenza monitoring system has shown in laboratory tests that it can confirm and type the infection in four hours. The goal in this study is to demonstrate that its system produces quick virus typing results in the diagnostic laboratory environment that correlate to the standard protocol.