A Medical Device Daily

Axeda Systems (Mansfield, Massachusetts), a provider of device relationship management (DRM) software and services, reported that Respironics (Murrysville, Pennsylvania), a manufacturer of products and programs that serve the global sleep and respiratory markets, has licensed the Axeda DRM system for remote monitoring and proactive maintenance and service support of its Esprit critical-care ventilators.

Dick Ellis, director of hospital services for Respironics, said, "This new maintenance and repair services product will be marketed under the name Respi-Link. Implementation of Respi-Link will allow our customers to change software and options on a schedule convenient to them and also receive remote assistance from our technical staff in the event it is needed. We expect to have this product in the marketplace by May of this year."

The Esprit ventilator combines "sophisticated design with easy-to-use features," the company said. The microprocessor-driven unit is upgradeable and offers a range of modes and breath types including volume control, pressure control, and fully integrated non-invasive ventilation. The Esprits can be used in any setting, from hospital to sub-acute care facilities.

EDS (Plano, Texas) said it has been awarded a $73 million, four-year contract plus two one-year options to continue processing healthcare provider claims and provide a variety of other Medicaid financial services to the state of Rhode Island.

The contract extends a 12-year relationship between EDS and the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (Cranston, Rhode Island). Last year, EDS processed more than 6.5 million healthcare claims, distributing nearly $1.3 billion in Medicaid benefits for more than 175,000 low-income Rhode Island residents.

More than 4,000 healthcare providers participate in the Rhode Island Medicaid program.

Under the new contract, EDS will continue to provide fiscal agent services for the state's Medicaid Management Information System, including claims processing, systems management, provider relations, data analysis, surveillance utilization review, drug utilization review, and premium billing and collection.

Smiths Medical (St. Paul, Minnesota) was awarded a three-year contract by Premier Purchasing Partners (San Diego) to offer Smiths Medical TruFlow Hemodialysis Catheters to nearly 200 Premier hospitals and healthcare systems, comprised of more than 1,500 hospital facilities in the U.S.

Kidney failure affects more than two out of 1,000 people in the U.S. every year. With diabetes and hypertension as the two leading causes of renal failure, it is growing at a rate of between 7% and 9% per year. Patients with renal failure must undergo dialysis treatments several times a week where their blood is circulated through a dialysis machine where harmful toxins are removed. The patient's blood can be sent to the dialysis machine through a graft, fistula or catheter.

TruFlow hemodialysis catheters are surgically inserted into a patient's jugular or subclavian vein, with a portion left outside the body for easy access when undergoing dialysis treatments. The catheters are made of carbothane and tecothane polyurethane materials that are resistant to breakdown from betadine and alcohol, designed to reduce kinking and provide stability during implant.

TruFlow catheter high radiopacity is designed to aid in confirming catheter tip placement, and a large inner diameter allows for optimal flow rates, the company said. The catheters are available in a variety of sizes for short- or long-term hemodialysis therapies.

Smiths Medical is a maker of medical devices used in infusion therapy.

In other grants/contracts news:

Ramp (New York) reported that its CarePoint technology suite is being deployed as the electronic prescribing solution for Premier Physicians Group, a family medical practice with more than 30 locations in the state of Ohio.

Through its wholly owned HealthRamp subsidiary, Ramp develops and markets the CarePoint suite of technologies. CarePoint is designed to enable electronic prescribing, lab orders and results, Internet-based communication, data integration and transaction processing over a hand-held device or browser, at the point of care.

HealthRamp also markets the CareGiver suite of technologies, which enables long-term care facility staff to place orders for drugs, treatments and supplies from a wireless hand-held PDA or desktop web browser.

Isolagen (Houston) said that it has leased an 86,500-square-foot facility in Exton, Pennsylvania, to serve as its corporate headquarters and the site for product development, manufacturing and commercialization of the Isolagen Process.

The company said it anticipates an "efficient and timely" renovation of the building to establish its cGMP facility. "Obtaining this facility represents a major step toward commercialization of the Isolagen Process in North America," said Robert Bitterman, president and CEO.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agreed to provide tax credits, cash grants, training grants and low-interest equipment loans totaling more than $1.1 million over five years, subject to meeting certain employment criteria.

Isolagen specializes in the development and commercialization of autologous cellular therapies for soft- and hard-tissue regeneration.