A Medical Device Daily

Neurome (San Diego) said 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 3-D 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.”

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 new 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.”

In other grants/contracts news:

• dj Orthopedics (San Diego), a global medical device company specializing in rehabilitation and regeneration products for the non-operative orthopedic and spine markets, said that it has signed a new three-year, multi-source contract with MedAssets Supply Chain Systems (Atlanta), a group purchasing organization that serves more than 22,000 healthcare providers nationwide through its revenue cycle and supply chain operations.

Under the agreement, which begins July 1, dj Orthopedics will sell its broad range of ProCare soft goods to MedAssets’ members. This is the second supply contract awarded to dj Orthopedics by MedAssets. Last November, the company reported a contract to supply MedAssets with dj Orthopedics’ functional rigid knee bracing products, post-operative knee and shoulder bracing products and the company’s entire line of cold therapy products.

• Immunetrics (Pittsburgh) said it entered into a collaboration to discover inflammation biomarkers with the University of Cologne (Cologne, Germany) and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology (Vienna, Austria).

Immunetrics and the European partners will conduct a joint effort to discover biomarkers of inflammation with application in clinical diagnosis, in case management, and in the discovery and development of new drugs.

The agreement provides the academic partners with access to the Immunetrics modeling platform, which provides the ability to simulate the immune response in a wide range of organisms and experimental scenarios. The University of Cologne is providing access to a large database of detailed human clinical data and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute to a large database of animal model data.

“By combining these rich data sets with the Immunetrics simulation platform, the parties will increase the capability to discover important new markers of the inflammatory response through an in silico bridge that spans from animals to the clinic,” said Steven Chang, CEO of Immunetrics.