A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Compugen (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Biosite (San Diego) have entered into a collaboration for the development and commercialization of diagnostic products. Biosite is licensed to develop and commercialize immunoassay based diagnostic products using novel biomarkers discovered by Compugen.

Using its genomic platform and other computational tools, Compugen is expected to provide Biosite with data on several gene targets to be nominated by Biosite. Compugen grants to Biosite an exclusive license to use the selected Compugen targets for immunoassay based diagnostic applications.

In return, Compugen is to receive milestone payments and royalties from the sales of each diagnostic product emerging from the collaboration. Compugen retains the exclusive right to pursue further development in the therapeutic field and Biosite will be entitled to receive from Compugen milestone payments and royalties arising from any successful therapeutic application.

Beckman Coulter (Fullerton, California) reported signing a licensing agreement with Nephromics (Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts), providing it access to all Nephromics' patents, patent applications and biologics related to the detection, monitoring and risk assessment of pre-eclampsia, considered the second-leading cause of maternal deaths in the developed world.

Currently, there are no specific in vitro diagnostic tests for pre-eclampsia, "even though the disease threatens the lives of thousands of women and their babies, and places a significant burden on healthcare systems worldwide," said Mike Whelan, vice president of Beckman Coulter's immunoassays and nucleic acid testing business center. "Through this licensing agreement, we plan to develop new immunoassay tests designed to improve the outcomes in certain at-risk pregnancies. It is a powerful example of our commitment to provide clinical laboratories highly differentiated products and a broad immunoassay test menu for improved disease state management."

The Nephromics technology is based, in part, on re-agents supplied by R&D Systems (Minneapolis). Beckman Coulter in 2003 entered into an agreement with R&D Systems to development and manufacture automated cytokine assays and assay components designed for Beckman Coulter's Access family of immunoassay systems.

The new tests are being designed for use on the Access family of immunoassay systems — including the UniCel DxI 800 analyzer and the Synchron LXi 725 chemistry-immunoassay system.

In other grants/contracts news:

Instrumentation Laboratory (IL; Lexington, Massachusetts) reported that it has extended its existing contract, established in 2002, for its entire portfolio of critical care products with MedAssets Supply Chain Systems (Atlanta). The new contract period continues through July 31, 2006.

This agreement covers IL's portfolio of critical care analyzers, reagents, consumables and service, including IL's flagship product, the GEM Premier 3000 analyzer for blood gas, electrolyte and metabolite testing. That analyzer features Intelligent Quality Management (iQM), a real-time, automated, continuous quality assurance system, the company said.

iQM, coupled with its cartridge-based technology and ease of use, is designed to allow the GEM Premier 3000 to be used throughout the hospital, at the point of care and in the lab. It is the only critical care analyzer that offers "true standardization," IL said.

Immucor (Norcross, Georgia), a provider of automated instrument-reagent systems to the blood transfusion industry, reported that it has entered into a long-term agreement with Canadian Blood Services for the purchase of five Galileo instruments and the related reagents.

Dr. Nino De Chirico, president of Immucor, said, "They will initially implement antibody screening. At a later date, Canadian Blood Services could add additional tests to the menu on the instrument as a second phase implementation."

Immucor makes a line of reagents and systems used by hospitals, reference laboratories and donor centers to detect and identify certain properties of the cell and serum components of blood prior to transfusion.

Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit organization that manages the blood supply in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec and oversees the country's Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry. The organization operates 42 permanent collection sites and more than 15,000 donor clinics annually. The provincial and territorial ministers of health provide operational funding to Canadian Blood Services.

The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system.

Today Focus Diagnostics (Herndon, Virginia) reported signing a three-year referral testing service agreement with Child Health Corp. of America (Overland Park, Kansas), a business alliance of 41 children's hospitals in North America. The agreement will commence on July 1.

Focus Diagnostics, a provider of infectious disease diagnostics for nearly three decades, says it "seeks to understand the unique medical needs of children, such as the need to accommodate smaller sample sizes."

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