A Medical Device Daily

Invitrogen (Carlsbad, California) has signed an agreement to acquire privately held immunological assay manufacturer Caltag Laboratories (Burlingame, California) in a cash transaction totaling $20 million.

Caltag makes antibodies and reagents for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, private and university hospitals and research laboratories. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2Q05.

“Caltag’s expertise in producing antibodies and reagents for flow cytometry applications adds another key cap-ability to Invitrogen’s proteomics portfolio that we strengthened earlier this year with the acquisition of Zymed Laboratories [South San Francisco, California] and its 3,000 antibodies and related products,” said Gregory Lucier, chairman and CEO of Invitrogen. “Caltag also strengthens Invitrogen’s new Antibody Center of Excellence that we have established in the San Francisco Bay area.”

Caltag’s expanding collection of antibodies is used in cellular research to detect cell surface and intercellular markers in human, rat and mouse cells. The company also is a pioneer in the development and introduction of tandem dyes for multi-color flow cytometry – a widely used method for measuring the number of cells in a given sample, the percentage of living cells in that sample, as well as cell characteristics such as size, shape or even the presence of tumor markers on the cell surface.

In addition to its work in the research market, Caltag has developed a number of technologies for diagnostic applications. Fifteen of the company’s products have been cleared-to-date by the FDA through the 510(k) process for use as Class II in vitro diagnostic devices.

Invitrogen provides products and services that support academic and government research institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide. The company provides life science technologies for disease research, drug discovery and commercial bioproduction.

Biophan Technologies (West Henrietta, New York), a developer of next-generation medical technology, has executed a letter of intent with German biomedical researchers Arno Bucker, MD, and Alexander Ruebben, MD, for an exclusive license to their cardiovascular stent technology enabling accurate MRI angiography of the interior of vascular stents.

The technology, developed by Bucker and Ruebben through their research at the University of Aachen (Aachen, Germany), is designed to enable MRI visualizations to diagnose the health of implanted stents and assess the occurrence of restenosis, or unhealthy re-narrowing of stented arteries.

Bucker and Ruebben have tested several prototypes of their Aachen resonance renal MRI stents and have reported on the technology’s ability to enable artifact-free MRI angiography and coronary vessel wall imaging within implanted stents. They have conducted their studies in both in vitro and in swine models. Biophan has signed a letter of intent to serve as exclusive worldwide licensor of the technology.

“This letter of intent adds an important component of technology and expertise to the Biophan portfolio,” said Michael Weiner, CEO of Biophan. “The technology that will be licensed to Biophan, and will be available for sub-licensing by us to third parties, adds another viable means to creating MRI visible stents that can allow exquisite detail of restenosis and blockages, without the need for an interventional procedure, and eliminating the need to expose the patient to toxic dyes and ionizing radiation. The only other approaches we know of for making an MRI visible stent require cutting the struts of the stent and gluing them back together, which is a solution that has not been well received due to the damage to stent structural integrity that may occur.”

In other dealmaking news:

Health Discovery Corp. (HDC; Savannah, Georgia) said it has completed the acquisition of a support vector machine (SVM) patent portfolio, which includes issued patents and pending patent applications, as well as the immediate launch of a new licensing and product development program.

According to the company, the program will offer rights to use its patented and patent-pending developments in the fields of learning machines and knowledge discovery. HDC’s patent portfolio includes coverage of developments in the field of support vector machines (SVMs) from the work of several experts, including Vladimir Vapnik and Isabelle Guyon, co-inventors of the SVM, and members of HDC’s scientific team.

HDC originally acquired rights to use these patents for its use in biomarker discovery. The complete ownership of this intellectual property portfolio, the company said, gives it a strong foothold in the future development of biomarker, one of the “most exciting and important areas of diagnostic and drug discovery as well as drug safety for generating a personalized medicine approach to healthcare.”

Vencor International (Beverly Hills, California) reported the termination of its relationship with AccuDx (San Diego). After additional due diligence, it was mutually determined that merging the technologies of Vencor and AccuDx would not result in the level of synergism desired by both companies.

Vencor originally acquired AccuDx in July 2003 for its Crystalcytes technology, developed as the result of AccuDx investigations into the properties and applications of nanoparticles (Medical Device Daily, July 28, 2003). AccuDx also developed another brand protection technology called Clirmark, a chembio marker technology used as a stand-alone taggant or in conjunction with Crystalcytes technology.

As a result of the termination, Vencor Diagnostic and Bio-Tech Division are now in the process of negotiating a spin-off of the division.

According to Vencor’s management, this will pave the way for Vencor to focus all of its energies and efforts on its core business, the apparel and natural beauty industry.

PainCare Holdings (Orlando, Florida), a developer of orthopedic rehabilitation, minimally invasive spine surgery and pain management solutions, said it has acquired a controlling interest in PSHS Alpha Partners, doing business as Lake Worth Surgical Center (LWSC), an ambulatory surgical center located in Palm Beach County, Florida.

As previously disclosed, the terms of the purchase agreement provided for PainCare to acquire 100% of the interest in LWSC owned by the general partner, PSHS Partnership Ventures, and about 50% of the interest in LWSC owned by the three limited partners, one of whom includes Dr. Merrill Reuter, chairman of PainCare and president of Advanced Orthopaedics of South Florida, a practice PainCare has owned since 2001.

PainCare Surgery Center I, a wholly owned subsidiary of PainCare, will act as the sole general partner of LWSC and will own 67.5% of all partnership interests in the partnership.

In consideration for its general partner interest and the controlling stake in LWSC, PainCare paid the sellers a total of $8,159,058 in a combination of cash and its stock.