A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

HemoSense (San Jose, California) has signed non-exclusive distribution agreements with McKesson (San Francisco), National Distribution & Contracting (NDC; Nashville), Laboratory Supply Co. (Labsco; Louisville, Kentucky) and Health Biomedic (Hong Kong) to market and distribute the INRatio system, a hand-held blood coagulation monitoring system for point-of-care or in-home testing use.

These four supply partners broaden the company's U.S. reach, add China as a new market, and bring to 22 the number of distributors offering the INRatio system to professional healthcare providers and home-use markets worldwide, the company said.

Leading pharmaceutical distributor and healthcare services company McKesson and NDC, the largest organization of independent medical, surgical, dental and laboratory national supply distributors, will market and distribute the INRatio System in the U.S.

Labsco, the largest privately held distributor of clinical laboratory products in the U.S., will further HemoSense's regional distribution efforts in the Midwest and Southeast. Health Biomedic is a well-established distribution company based in China and will be the first partner to distribute the INRatio system in China and Hong Kong.

The INRatio system consists of a small, portable monitor and disposable test strips that are designed to provide a quick and accurate measurement of a patient's blood clotting time, known as a PT/INR value. The accurate measurement of the PT/INR value is critical to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of warfarin, an oral anticoagulation or blood-thinning drug, in maintaining a patient's blood coagulation level within a therapeutic range.

Nanogen (San Diego), a developer of advanced diagnostic products, reported that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Bethesda, Maryland), has awarded it a grant of $2.5 million over the next five years to develop a prototype fully integrated diagnostic system for clinical labs to identify infectious agents that cause sepsis and community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

The grant will enable Nanogen to develop improved molecular biological methods, miniaturize those methods, and demonstrate the performance of this new molecular diagnostic approach to diagnose sepsis and CAP in a hospital laboratory setting, the company said.

Nanogen will be using its chemistry and multiplex detection technologies and employing the technologies and clinical and microbiological expertise of the Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee).

The goal of the partnership is to develop an automated diagnostic system that would be able to rapidly detect a number of bacteria and viruses that cause sepsis and pneumonia in patients – improving on current methods that are often time-consuming, ineffective and expensive, Nanogen said.

"In previous government grant programs, Nanogen greatly reduced the size of its instrument and integrated essential biological sample preparation, amplification and detection technologies to design a sample-to-answer diagnostic system," said Howard Birndorf, Nanogen's chairman and CEO. "This NIAID/NIH research program will further the design of a sophisticated prototype assay and instrument system and sepsis and pneumonia detection panels to help physicians expedite test results in the hospital lab and make better treatment decisions."

Mortality from sepsis can range from 28 to 50%. In addition, pneumonia remains the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. Early identification and appropriate treatment of the underlying cause of sepsis and pneumonia will improve patient outcomes, the company said.

Nanogen's products include real-time PCR reagents, the NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation platform for molecular diagnostic applications and a line of rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests.

In other grants/contracts news:

Commercial genetic testing developer Tm Bioscience (Toronto) said it has signed an agreement to supply the University of Miami's (Coral Gables, Florida) Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Center for Medical Genetics with reagents for use in its Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and Ashkenazi Jewish Panel gene assays.

Tag-It ASR reagents from Tm Bioscience will be used in the center's Cystic Fibrosis gene assay, which detects multiple mutations associated with CF, and in its Ashkenazi Jewish Panel gene assay, which detects gene mutations associated with Tay-Sachs disease, Canavan disease, familial dysautonomia, Gaucher disease, Bloom syndrome, Fanconi anemia, Neimann-Pick disease and mucolipidosis Type IV.

Posey (Arcadia, California) said it has signed a three-year commercial agreement with Premier Purchasing Part- ners (San Diego) to supply its restraint and fall prevention healthcare products, after completing a prior three-year contract.

Under the new multi-source contract, Posey will continue to offer Premier members its array of products, including gait/transfer belts, wheelchair cushions and fall prevention monitors. Posey also will provide in-service and clinical training from its sales representatives.

Other value-added services provided by Posey, that it said led Premier to renew the contract, include Posey's lifetime limited warranty for fall prevention monitors, continuing education unit programs and self-study training aids.

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