A Medical Device Daily

Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, California) and Scientific Software (SSI; Pleasanton, California) reported that they have agreed on a merger plan in which Agilent will acquire SSI, a provider of scientific information management solutions. Financial details were not disclosed.

Agilent said that the acquisition would bring together its own “world-class” analytical instrumentation, data systems and services with SSI’s “strong position” in chromatographic data systems and informatics. Agilent said that with the merger, it would have “one of the largest installed bases of chromatographic data systems, with more than 120,000 installations, and one of the broadest portfolios of laboratory informatics software in the life science and chemical industries.”

Jim Miller, director of software for Agilent’s Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis (LSCA) business, said that the proposed combination of products “will enable customers to unify their lab needs with one software application, handling diverse data, applications and instruments from multiple vendors in a single, seamless and secure environment. Scientists can collaborate across laboratory operations, linking information from a wide range of instrument platforms and data sources.”

The purchase meets Agilent’s objective, he said, of providing “a family of software solutions that addresses the complete life cycle of analytical information, from data acquisition to knowledge management and retention.”

SSI, reporting “thousands of customers worldwide” and 2004 sales of more than $18 million, employs about 80, with most expected to join Agilent, it said.

The company’s products include:

  • OpenLAB, a web-based software designed a laboratory solution managing a wide variety of instruments and chromatographic data systems.
  • EZChrom Elite, a chromatography data system with more than 60,000 licenses installed and the ability to control more than 290 instruments from 26 vendors. It is available standalone or integrated into OpenLAB.
  • Enterprise Content Manager (ECM), a software platform providing central repository and content services for capturing and managing business-critical information. Agilent has been the exclusive distributor of ECM since mid-2004.
  • Business Process Manager (BPM), a solution for stream-lining laboratory business processes while enabling collaboration between people, processes and content.

Agilent said it would continue development of these products with “open systems, industry standards, and interoperability with other instrument hardware and software providers.”

Soheil Saadat, PhD, president and CEO of SSI, said, “Our experience working with Agilent during the past year has shown that our two companies have excellent technological synergies.”

Agilent’s LSCA business, a global provider of instruments, supplies, software and services to the life science and chemical analysis markets, had revenue of $1.3 billion in FY04. LSCA employs 3,700 and offers sales and support services in 110 countries.

In other dealmaking:

RITA Medical Systems (Fremont, California) said it has signed a worldwide license agreement with EMcision Ltd. for the Habib Sealer disposable radio frequency (RF) resection device designed to coagulate a “surgical resection plane” to facilitate fast dissection with limited blood loss.

Terms of the agreement include an initial payment of $50,000 and another $200,000 upon 510(k) product clearance by the FDA. The agreement includes royalty and future payments based upon specific revenue targets.

RITA also issued EMcision 150,000 unregistered shares of its common stock with signing of the agreement. RITA will pay EMcision $500,000 on the one-year anniversary of the agreement.

The Habib Sealer device is designed to be compatible with the current RITA RF ablation (RFA) system and be used with its 1500 and 1500X Radiofrequency Generators.

Joseph DeVivo, president and CEO of RITA, said that the Habib Sealer device “represents an important addition to the RITA product line [and] is a perfect fit for our field sales force . . . as they regularly call on surgeons who perform resection procedures in the liver and other highly vascular organs.”

The Habib Sealer is CE-marked and is being offered for sale in Europe; the company is pursuing an FDA 510(k), with hoped-for clearance in the second half of 2005.

RITA estimates that more than 200,000 patients could benefit from the use of the Habib Sealer in a range of procedures, including liver and kidney resection; lung resection; pancreas resection; spleen resection; and uterine fibroid resection.

DeVivo predicted that the transaction will be accretive to company earnings, with a total annual worldwide opportunity of more than $300 million.

Nagy Habib, MD, professor of surgery at Imperial College London/Hammersmith Hospital, inventor of the Habib Sealer and founder of EMcision, said, “I have been working for the past four years with our engineers to produce a surgical instrument that is designed to save lives and reduce surgical complications.” And he predicted that it will become “a standard” instrument for elective cancer surgery in the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidney, uterus, and lung. He said it also would benefit trauma surgeons to help control bleeding during emergency surgery.

The Habib Sealer is designed to be used in open and laparoscopic surgical procedures for the resection of tissue and includes several unique usability features and benefits including bi-polar electrode device designed for fast tissue ablation and coagulation; and automatic operation with RITA 1500X Generator software upgrade, designed to reduce costs associated with resection procedures.

RITA manufactures products for cancer patients, including RFA systems for treating cancerous tumors, as well as percutaneous vascular and spinal access systems

• Union Dental Holdings (UDHI; Coral Springs, Florida) reported completing the acquisition of Dental Visions (Coral Springs, Florida). Dental Visions is a dental service practice in the area currently served by UDHI, and complements and adds to the existing dental practice in the Coral Springs area.

The dental service practice expansion is expected to add significantly to the revenues and profits of UDHI. Direct Dental Services and Union Dental provide dentists with “areas of exclusivity” to participate with various unions. Union Dental receives management fees from the dentists in exchange for practicing in these areas of exclusivity.

• American Hospice (Jacksonville, Florida) reported acquiring Embracing HospiceCare (Atlanta), saying that it complements its other programs in Arizona, Oklahoma, Virginia and New Jersey. Terms were not disclosed.

American Hospice describes its mission as establishing centers of excellence for hospice care nationally and attaining leadership in each of its markets.