A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Hamilton Thorne Biosciences (Beverly, Massachusetts) and CogniScent (Weston, Massachusetts) reported a collaborative relationship for development and marketing of CogniScent's "Electronic Nose" device.

CogniScent has granted Hamilton Thorne worldwide exclusive marketing rights in key market areas and the companies are working together to produce the next generation of sensors that will increase the capability and sensitivity of artificial nose devices.

CogniScent's Electronic Nose uses an artificial olfactory neuronal network that mimics more aspects of the highly developed scent recognition abilities of animals than any other device presently available, resulting in an extremely sensitive detection system.

The technology, which combines an array of optically based chemosensors with pattern recognition, works by producing a "digital signature," or pattern, of the specific odor and then comparing it to patterns stored in its odor database. The use of an artificial neural network allows the unit to "learn" new odors and store response patterns for future comparison.

"We are very pleased to work with CogniScent to offer a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, on-site monitoring device for the detection and measurement of the levels of damaging fungal organisms," said Meg Hamilton, CEO of Hamilton Thorne Biosciences. "The ability for the unskilled user to perform on-site screening for fungal organisms represents the first line in the battle to reduce the litigation, clean-up costs and structural damage caused by toxigenic molds."

Hamilton Thorne Biosciences is a privately held automated instrumentation and DNA-technology company.

Everest Biomedical Instruments (St. Louis), reported its alliance with New York University School of Medicine's Brain Research Laboratory (BRL; New York). The agreement provides Everest with exclusive rights to a number of patents and patent applications from the laboratory. BRL's patented information covers the fields of electroencephalography, neurodiagnostics, neurotherapy, brain function scanning and anesthesia, analgesia and amnesia monitoring. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Access to BRL's intellectual property is expected to accelerate Everest's commercialization of novel brain-state neurological assessment devices. Designed to assist physicians in screening and evaluating patients with an altered mental status.

Everest's new product plans include creation of a hand-held device, the BrainScope, that produces automatic, functional brain-state assessments. The technology could lead to improved results and more efficient care for patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries, strokes, seizures, Alzheimer's disease and various psychiatric disorders.

"Existing neurological diagnostic devices, such as computed tomography scanner, can identify structural or anatomical problems but cannot assess the brain's functional status in a timely manner," says Elvir Causevic, Everest Biomedical founder and president. "In emergency situations, definitive results from currently used tests can take hours or even days. By applying the BRL data to our proven hand-held technology platform, we'll bring to market emergency-care tools that help physicians know within minutes the patient's functional brain status as an adjunct for relevant and timely treatment."

Neurome (San Diego) said that it has received a Phase I grant from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH; Bethesda, Maryland) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop and validate software that will accelerate the graphical delineation of brain regions on digital images used in the production of three-dimensional digital brain atlases.

Additionally, the development of tools to import and display brain gene expression data from technologies such as Neurome's open-system gene expression profiling technology, TOGA, and DNA microarrays (gene chips) onto 2-D and 3-D brain atlas templates are designed to provide visual displays of numerical data for "a more powerful and comprehensive means of understanding this important information," the company said.

"Atlases are an invaluable resource necessary for understanding neuroanatomical variations of the impact of diverse manipulations by providing a standard for comparison," said Floyd Bloom, MD, Neurome's chairman, founding CEO and chief scientific officer. "Using Neurome's technologies, production of these atlases will take weeks rather than years and will yield a series of brain atlases that will support the necessary mouse inter-strain, comparative analyses critical for effective drug discovery research and development."

In other grants/contracts news:

Focus Diagnostics (Herndon, Virginia), a leading provider of infectious disease testing services and diagnostic products, reported an agreement with Luminex (Austin, Texas) with licensing terms providing Focus Diagnostics access to Luminex's xMAP bead-based multiplexing technology for use in infectious disease products.

Through the agreement, Focus has acquired non-exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize certain in vitro clinical diagnostic products using Luminex xMAP technology. The company provides infectious disease testing services and diagnostic products.

Fonar (Melville, New York) said that it has sold and installed an Upright MRI at StandUp MRI (Riverhead, New York). The facility is operated and managed by Diagnostic Imaging Management Co. (DIMC), which is affiliated with Long Island Diagnostic Imaging (LIDI; also Riverhead). LIDI has been offering full imaging modality services to the Long Island area for more than 30 years.

Philips Medical Systems (Andover, Massachusetts) reported that it has been awarded diagnostic imaging contracts from HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG; Brentwood, Tennessee), a healthcare purchasing organization. The agreements will provide Philips access to HPG's more than 1,500 members.

The three-year agreements between Philips and HPG will cover ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), MRI, positron emission tomography (PET), PET/CT, nuclear medicine, angiography labs, cardiac cath labs, general X-ray, and radiography and fluoroscopy systems.

The latest agreements add to existing agreements covering patient monitoring and resuscitation productts.

Randy Rountree, senior vice president of sales, North America, for Philips Medical Systems, said, "Combined, these awards place virtually all Philips medical equipment lines under contract with HPG for the first time in our history."

Swissray International (Elizabeth, New Jersey) said it received orders for multiple direct digital radiography (ddR) systems from New England Baptist Hospital (Boston). The systems are scheduled to be installed starting in July.

Digital radiography provides medical radiographic images in seconds at a lower cost than conventional or computed radiography because, among other factors, film, imaging plates, cassettes and chemical processing are not required.

Swissray uses a multi-functional, single-detector design in providing a full range of ddR systems for orthopedic applications, imaging centers, hospitals and emergency departments. The company said its 16-bit detector technology delivers more than 65,000 grey levels for "un-matched diagnostic image quality."

Tm Bioscience (Toronto), which focuses on the commercial genetic testing market, reported signing an agreement to supply the Emory Genetics Laboratory at Emory University (Atlanta) with the Tag-It ASR reagents for use 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.

"Emory Genetics Laboratory is one of the largest academic diagnostic laboratories in the southeastern U.S. and its Molecular Genetics Laboratory offers a comprehensive suite of genetic assays," said Greg Hines, president and CEO of Tm Bioscience.

"We are seeing growing demand for genetic screening across the state of Georgia," said Dr. Kasinathan Muralidharan, director of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory at Emory. "Incorporating the Tag-It reagents from Tm Bioscience will help us [provide] a multi-disease panel that will produce fast results, with high throughput and a minimum of operator time."