• Acusphere (Watertown, Massachusetts) said that the Journal of Controlled Release recently published a research paper describing the company's porous microparticle technology and AI-700, an ultrasound contrast agent for use in echocardiography. AI-700 is Acusphere's lead product candidate and is currently in Phase III clinical trials. The cardiovascular drug is intended to improve the use of ultrasound in effectively screening patients for coronary heart disease (CHD) by enabling clinicians to obtain information regarding myocardial perfusion with ultrasound, which the company said has potentially significant cost and convenience advantages over nuclear stress tests. In Phase II clinical trials, ultrasound using AI-700 demonstrated greater than 30% higher sensitivity than ultrasound without AI-700 and equal sensitivity in detecting CHD to nuclear stress tests.

• Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, California) reported the introduction of the Agilent 1200 Series LC (liquid chromatography) system, replacing the 1100 Series LC. With more than 60 instrument modules, the Agilent 1200 system can be configured for all major LC applications, including a new rapid-resolution format. HPLC-Chips, which can provide customers with more than a 1,000-fold improvement in sensitivity over conventional LC/MS, are available to apply this technology for both small and large molecule work. The 1200 Series Rapid Resolution System provides up to 20 times faster analysis and 60% higher resolution than conventional LC, yet can still run any traditional LC method. A special high-throughput configuration of the 1200 Rapid Resolution system allows sequential execution of more than 2,000 samples per day on a single system. The system features more than 70 new Rapid Resolution High Throughput columns, which range in size and come in more than six bonded phases. The system includes a new high-performance pump that can handle flow rates from 0.05-5 ml/min and up to 600 bar pressure, and features a new high-performance degasser, autosampler, column compartment and UV and MS detectors. The system can be optimized for highest speed and resolution in both LC/UV and LC/MS applications. The Agilent 1200 HPLC Series will be available for order Feb. 1, in all configurations.

• Biophan Technologies (West Henrietta, New York) reported that one U.S. patent has been issued to the company and another has been issued to one of its licensors who has granted Biophan exclusive worldwide medical rights. U.S. patent No. 6,980,848, "Optical MRI Catheter System," teaches the application of photonic technology in combination with miniature MRI receiver coils incorporated into diagnostic catheters, eliminating unwanted heating associated with electrical conductors. U.S. patent No. 6,980,865, "Implantable Shielded Medical Device," licensed to Biophan by Nanoset (East Rochester, New York), discloses a flexible and biocompatible shielding assembly for electrical conductors used with implantable medical devices. This patent covers use of nanomagnetic and carbon-based structures providing a range of electromagnetic shielding for internal electrical conductors, as well as a high degree of thermal isolation for tissues external to the shield.

• DOBI Medical International (Mahwah, New Jersey) has released the latest version of the Dynamic Optical Breast Imaging (DOBI) technology software for its ComfortScan breast imaging system, a near infrared based, non-invasive and non-ionizing imaging system designed to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer by identifying tumor angiogenesis. The Windows-based, ComfortScan 2.0 software suite consists of three individual elements: ComfortScan acquisition software for patient data acquisition; ComfortNet for image database management; and ComfortView for image processing and display, allowing reading and diagnostic interpretation by physicians. The company said the software advances in ComfortScan image acquisition and processing, with a number of improved image reconstruction techniques, are designed to help improve visualization of potential sites of angiogenesis within the breast. The company said the release of version 2.0 marks the completion of a milestone in its preparation for a larger, blinded multi-physician read, a key part of the final submission module of its FDA premarket approval application.

• Exact Sciences (Marlborough, Massachusetts) said that improvements to its technology demonstrated sensitivity in excess of 80% for detecting colorectal cancer in a recent research study. The blinded study was designed to test the efficacy of technological advances to enhance colorectal cancer detection in stool. The study results have been submitted for presentation at the major annual meeting of gastroenterologists, Digestive Disease Week, which will be held in May. The results also are being submitted for publication. Exact Sciences uses applied genomics to develop effective, patient-friendly screening technologies for use in the detection of cancer. Certain of Exact Sciences technologies are being offered in a commercial testing service, PreGen-Plus, developed by Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (Burlington, North Carolina). PreGen-Plus is used for screening for colorectal cancer in the average-risk population.

• Response Biomedical (Vancouver, British Columbia) reported that initial evaluations performed by independent public health organizations demonstrated that its rapid RAMP Flu A Test had significantly greater sensitivity than existing point-of-care diagnostic products. The company said it now plans to initiate multi-center clinical trials of its RAMP Flu A and Flu B Tests during the current flu season. RAMP provides clinically relevant information in about 15 minutes, well within the 48-hour window of opportunity for administering antiviral therapy.

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