A Medical Device Daily

SonoSite (Bothell, Washington) reported signing a new three-year, group purchasing agreement with Premier Purchasing Partners (San Diego) for hand-carried ultrasound equipment, accessories and service.

SonoSite's newest product, the MicroMaxx system, which incorporates the company's third generation of hand-carried ultrasound technology, began shipping in June 2005 and represents a “crossover point between hand-carried and cart-based systems,“ it said.

Premier is a healthcare alliance owned by more than 200 leading not-for-profit hospital and healthcare systems. These organizations operate or are affiliated with nearly 1,400 hospital facilities and 37,000 other care sites.

In other agreements news:

PerkinElmer (Boston) reported entering into an agreement with the National Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), launched in 2004,to provide reagents, instrumentation and support for identifying small molecules which can be used to understand cellular events involved in health and disease, potentially leading to drug discovery.

NCGC gains access to PerkinElmer's reagent portfolio and scientific experts who are helping develop assays and protocols. The three leading reagent technologies being used are AlphaScreen, Lance and Delfia.

AlphaScreen is a non-radioactive bead-based technology enabling the screening of biological interactions, particularly with the largest target class – kinases. Lance is a technology that supports the measurement of various analytes and screens diverse biological interactions. Delfia, a counterpart to Lance, is an enabling fluorescence technology allowing for sensitive and multiplexed detection of analytes.

Robert Friel, president, PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences, said, “We believe that our capability to provide comprehensive solutions helps eliminate the time consuming and expensive problem of trying to unify all the components of drug discovery – liquid handling and prep, assay development and multi-label detection.“

The NCGC is an ultra-high-throughput screening and chemistry center formed by the NIH in 2004 to discover chemical probes of gene and cell functions across the genome using its quantitative HTS technology.

Geron (Menlo Park, California) said it has entered into two agreements with the University of Oxford (Oxford, UK) relating to its program to produce dendritic cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs).

In a license agreement with Isis Innovation , the university's technology transfer company, Geron receives a worldwide exclusive license under patent applications filed by the university for work by Oxford scientists who derived dendritic cells from hESCs. In a linked research agreement, Geron will fund work in the university's Sir William Dunn School of Pathology to develop the technology under the guidance of Dr. Paul Fairchild and Professor Herman Waldmann.

Dr. Jane Lebkowski, Geron's senior vice president of regenerative medicine, said, “The combination of the Oxford technology with Geron's ability to grow and differentiate hESCs on a commercial scale opens up new possibilities in both vaccine delivery and tolerance induction for hESC-based cell therapies. The research at Oxford is designed to complement Geron's internal efforts in this field, and we look forward to a collaborative and productive relationship.“

Nurses concerned about needle punctures

Operating room nurses at last week's Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN; Denver) Congress in Washington reported they are “very concerned“ about the risk of surgical glove punctures which could ultimately affect their career if exposure to infectious blood-borne pathogens result from the puncture.

In a random sample of 612 operating room nurses at the AORN congress, Regent Medical (Norcross, Georgia) asked about glove perforation detection issues. When asked how concerned they are about the risk of surgical glove punctures which could ultimately affect their career if they were exposed to infectious blood-borne pathogens as a result of the puncture, 82% of survey respondents said they were “very concerned,“ while 15% said they were “somewhat concerned.“

Only 1% of the nurses responding to the survey indicated that they estimate single-glove perforations are recognized 100% of the time and 14% said they are recognized 75% of the time. Almost one-third (30%) responded that they are recognized 50% of the time. According to the survey, 98% of respondents said this estimation is based on “personal experience and intuition.“