ATS Medical (Minneapolis), which offers products and services focused on cardiac surgery, reported entering into an exclusive marketing services agreement with Regeneration Technologies-Cardiovascular (formerly Alabama Tissue Center; Alachua, Florida), a subsidiary of Regeneration Technologies, effective July 21. ATS has been appointed the exclusive marketing services provider for RTI-Cardiovascular's tissue-processing services in the cardiovascular surgery market. It will market and solicit orders for RTI-Cardiovascular's processed cardiovascular allograft tissue to doctors, hospitals, clinics and patients throughout North America. Established in 1981 in response to growing demand for more readily available transplant tissue, RTI-Cardiovascular (as Alabama Tissue Center) said it has been "largely responsible for development of standards for heart valve processing" in the U.S.

Inverness Medical Innovations (Waltham, Massachusetts) said its subsidiary, Wampole Laboratories (Princeton, New Jersey), has signed an agreement with Roche Diagnostics (Indianapolis) to collaborate on the first fully automated diagnostic test for ischemia modified albumin (IMA). The current plan is for the albumin cobalt-binding (ACB) test for detection of IMA to be available on the Roche Cobas Integra 700 and Cobas Integra 800 chemistry analyzer systems, and Inverness is currently preparing to submit a premarket notification with the FDA for clearance. IMA is a key marker of cardiac ischemia used in the assessment of patients with chest pain suggestive of a heart attack. The agreement states that Wampole will sell and distribute the IMA test for Roche Diagnostics analyzers, and that it will work with Roche on a co-marketing agreement for the IMA test. The IMA assay also is available on several other analyzers from Roche Diagnostics. Used in conjunction with echocardiograms and cardiac troponin tests, IMA assists in the early evaluation of acute coronary syndromes in patients presenting to hospital emergency departments with chest pain.

MediVas (San Diego) and Estracure (Montreal) have signed an agreement for the exclusive use of the MediVas PEA drug delivery technology in conjunction with Estracure's technology to develop a 17-(beta)-Estradiol drug-eluting stent (DES). Terms were not disclosed. Estracure is developing therapeutics to improve treatment coronary heart disease, mainly restenosis and vulnerable Founded by cardiologist Jean-Francois Tanguay, president and chief scientific officer, Estracure is a spin-off of the Montreal Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Montreal. Estracure said that 17-B-Estradiol is a non-toxic, naturally occurring hormone that has been shown in preclinical studies by its scientific team to have dual beneficial effects in improving vascular healing and preventing restenosis after angioplasty. The company has completed a Phase II clinical trial evaluating the drug's ability to prevent restenosis following PTCA and stent implantation. MediVas polymers are made from amino acids, which give them good hemocompatibility and biocompatibility to provide controlled drug release and are well suited for applications such as drug-eluting stents.

Novadaq Technologies (Toronto) and the Sorin Group's (Milan, Italy) CarboMedics unit, a developer of technologies for cardiac surgery, said they have signed a North American agreement to distribute the SPY Intra-operative Imaging System, a real-time visual imaging device for use during coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). Novadaq and Eastman Kodak (Rochester, New York) are finalizing a U.S. service agreement to provide ongoing service and maintenance for the SPY System. More than 400,000 CABG surgeries are performed in North America each year. Novadaq said the SPY System is the only procedure that allows real-time visual confirmation of revascularization during CABG surgery, allowing technical errors to be detected and corrected while the patient is still in the operating room.

Southwest Ambulance (Mesa, Arizona), a subsidiary of Rural/Metro (Scottsdale, Arizona), a provider of medical transportation and private fire protection services, and Cardiac Science (Irvine, California), a manufacturer of life-saving automatic public-access defibrillators (AEDs), reported an exclusive marketing partnership agreement under which Cardiac Science will be the AED provider for Southwest Ambulance. The companies will jointly develop a public-access defibrillation program to create awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and stimulate the deployment of AEDs throughout the local communities served by Southwest Ambulance in the southwestern U.S.

SurModics (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), a provider of surface modification and drug delivery technologies, said that it has entered into a research and development agreement and license option with the University of Arizona (Tucson) to develop advanced medical therapies. The program is being conducted in conjunction with Stuart Williams, PhD, a leader in the development of cardiovascular implants using tissue-engineering techniques. Williams has pioneered in the understanding of mechanisms and specific cell types involved in biomaterial healing and then applying them to improve device success, SurModics said. In addition, SurModics and CardioMind (Sunnyvale, California) have entered into a license agreement for the use of SurModics' Encore drug delivery polymer matrix with CardioMind's ultra low-profile stent system for the treatment of coronary and peripheral artery disease.

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