A Medical Device Daily

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 will 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 four-dimensional [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 drum heads. 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/ Erlangen, Germany).

AmerisourceBergen (AB; Valley Forge, Pennsylvania) has signed a definitive agreement to sell substantially all of the operating assets of its Bridge Medical (Solana Beach, California) unit to Cerner (Kansas City, Missouri) for about $11 million.

The agreement also provides for contingent payments based on achievement of performance targets through Jan. 1, 2006.

AB said it will work with Cerner to continue to make available Bridge Medical products as part of its broad suite of patient-safety solutions.

Bridge Medical’s barcode-enabled point-of-care system combines medication verification with laboratory specimen identification. The solution employs bar-code scanning, clinical knowledge bases, and wireless networking and integration capabilities to alert clinicians of potential medication administration and collection errors at the bedside.

“Cerner is committed to providing solutions to our clients that improve health outcomes at the bedside, resulting in greater productivity and safety. This acquisition brings speed to safety in the healthcare market, and bolsters our already significant set of point-of-care technologies, as well as our client base,” said Paul Black, chief operating officer of Cerner.

Cerner said the acquisition complements its PowerPOC suite of solutions and Millennium PathNet hand-held specimen collections for laboratory.

The sale is expected to close in July.

For FY3Q ended June 30, AB said it will record an after-tax loss estimated from $5 million to $6 million as discontinued operations related to Bridge Medical. About $4 million will relate to the loss on the sale of the Bridge assets.

In other dealmaking news:

• Accenture (New York) has completed the acquisition of Capgemini’s (Paris) North American health practice.

Under the agreement disclosed on April 20, Accenture paid Capgemini $175 million in cash for the practice. Other terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition combines Accenture’s capabilities in working with health plans, life sciences companies and government organizations with Capgemini’s strength in serving hospitals and health systems, the companies said.

Accenture’s Health & Life Sciences clients include integrated healthcare providers, health insurers, managed care organizations, public health organizations and pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical products, biotech and pharmaceutical companies.