A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Siemens Medical Solutions Ultrasound Division (SMSUD; Mountain View, California) said it has agreed to acquire Sensant (San Leandro, California) for an undisclosed amount.

The company said this acquisition would allow it to develop advanced capacitive microfabricated ultrasound transducer (CMUT) technology and commercialize next-generation transducers based on the technology.

The new CMUT technology is expected to offer what the company said is "superior and efficient volumetric 4-D imaging for a wide range of applications; improved manufacturing processes; a broader frequency range and higher image resolution, allowing clinicians to examine the next level of microscopic detail within conventional and 4-D ultrasound images."

"Not only should this technology enable higher frequency imaging, which will allow clinicians to view the smallest details within the body, but the integrated circuit technology should also deliver superior quality control and manufacturing processes," said Klaus Hambuechen, president and CEO of SMSUD. "Additionally, it will be easier to tightly integrate the electronics of the transducer and the ultrasound system. This improved integration is where the greatest possibilities for ultrasound imaging and manufacturing advancements can be realized, especially in the area of volumetric (4-D) imaging."

The CMUT transducers are made from silicon wafers using integrated circuit fabrication processes and miniature drumheads. A single drum operates as both an ultrasonic speaker and microphone. Using CMUT technology to transmit sound waves into the body, the imaging system sends an electrical signal to the drum that creates an electrostatic force on the membrane causing it to vibrate and emit ultrasound. The echoes returning from the body's tissue cause the drum's membrane to vibrate, which produces the electrical signals that the system uses to create a visual image.

While advancements in medical technology are sometimes associated with increased costs, CMUT technology is expected to allow transducers to be manufactured at a lower cost, while also improving overall quality.

"Integrated circuit technology allows the manufacturing process to be more exact and precise, and also more flexible because various types of transducer arrays could be manufactured simultaneously with relative ease," said Hambuechen. "As a result, we anticipate quality to be increased and costs to be reduced, which would improve access for clinicians and patients to advanced diagnostic technologies like the AcuNav catheter."

Siemens plans to integrate this transducer technology into its complete suite of ultrasound imaging systems, and Hambuechen said that he expects the technology to be commercially available within two to three years.

SMSUD is a division of Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pennsylvania).

Roper Industries (Duluth, Georgia) reported that it has acquired medical products provider Civco Medical Instruments (Kalona, Iowa), from KRG Capital Partners for $120 million in cash.

Civco supplies diagnostic and therapeutic disposable products used in conjunction with ultrasound imaging for minimally invasive procedures primarily in urology, radiology and cardiology. Civco recently introduced the Civco Assist product line, a surgical patient platform used across several imaging modalities.

Civco joins Roper's Imaging segment, with Roper saying that this enhances its focus on life science and medical applications.

The cash purchase price of $120 million represents about 8-1/2 times expected 2006 EBITDA. Civco is expected to generate about $40 million in 2006 revenues. Roper said that Civco is likely to add at least 5 cents of diluted earnings per share to 2006 performance.

Civco's senior management team, under the leadership of Charles Klasson Jr., president, will continue in their positions under Roper's ownership.

Klasson said, "Roper has a long track record of growing businesses like Civco, and our employees will benefit from being part of Roper."

Founded in 1981, Civco's product lines include biopsy systems, protective covers, ultrasound supplies, and positioning and stabilization systems. The company's products are sold to more than 7,500 hospitals and clinics throughout the world. It also is a supplier to original equipment manufacturers such as Philips Medical Systems, GE Healthcare, Siemens Medical Solutions, Toshiba Medical Systems, Aloka, B-K Medical and SonoSite.

Roper Industries has more than $1 billion of annualized revenues.

In other dealmaking news: DNAPrint genomics (Sara-sota, Florida) has acquired Trace Genetics (San Francisco), a provider of products and services for the genealogy, forensics, and molecular diagnostics markets. Trace shareholders exchanged all of the outstanding shares of Trace for 25 million shares of DNAPrint common stock and options to purchase 5 million additional shares at 2 cents a share.

"The acquisition enables DNAPrint to establish a base of operations in the San Francisco Bay biotech corridor and broadens our sales and marketing opportunities on the West Coast," DNAPrint said.

Trace brings two new technologies to DNAPrint's autosomal testing for determining the percentage of a person's ancestry: Y-chromosome testing for tracing ancestry by following the paternal line, and mitochondrial X-chromosome testing for the maternal line. Trace also maintains a Native American DNA databank which, when combined with DNAPrint's, will be one of the largest in North America. Trace also has expertise in ancient DNA analysis from mummified and fossilized remains.

DNAPrint develops genomics-based products and services focused on drug development, pharmacogenomic tests, forensics technology and consumer genetic tests.

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