A Medical Device Daily

Serologicals (Atlanta) reported that Upstate Group (Charlottesville, Virginia), its wholly owned subsidiary, has obtained the rights from the University of California to sell the anti-ZAP-70 monoclonal antibody for diagnostic use. Terms of the sales deal were not disclosed.

"Anti-ZAP-70 was formerly only available for research use," said Ian Ratcliffe, president of Upstate. "Since the publication of the New England Journal of Medicine study, we have had multiple customer inquiries about its diagnostic or therapeutic use in humans or animals. The recently obtained rights will allow us to work more closely with diagnostic companies active in cell signaling."

Upstate said it anticipates significant growth from anti-ZAP-70 monoclonal antibody, including development of ZAP-70 diagnostic kits, ZAP-70 as a biomarker and the ability to offer GMP-approved ZAP-70 quantities.

Studies show that the levels of expression of the ZAP-70 protein strongly predict the aggressiveness of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

One such study, in the May 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, cited use of Upstate's anti-ZAP-70, clone 2F3.2, monoclonal antibody. Scientists used anti-ZAP-70 in immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and Western blot analysis of samples from chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a cancer involving the lymph system. According to the National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, Maryland), the disease affects about 8,200 Americans annually, most often in the middle-aged and elderly, with about 5,000 dying of it each year in the U.S.

Upstate is a provider of cell signaling products and services to the life sciences, such as drug screening services, enzymes, state-specific antibodies, siRNA kits and multiplex assays. Besides its Virginia headquarters, Upstate has locations in Lake Placid, New York, and Dundee, Scotland.

NovaMed (Chicago) reported that it has completed the buy-out of an option to purchase its 51% interest in the Overland Park Eye Surgery Center (Overland Park, Kansas) from its two physician-partners in this center.

John Hunkeler, MD, and Cliff Cokingtin, MD, who together own 49% of the Overland Park Eye Surgery Center, had an option to purchase NovaMed's 51% interest on April 15. NovaMed has purchased this option from its partners, which resulted in the termination of the option and NovaMed continuing to own a 51% interest in the surgery center.

NovaMed now has no remaining option agreements with physician-partners that provide them with the right to purchase NovaMed's majority interest in any of its surgery centers.

Stephen Winjum, president, CEO and chairman of NovaMed, said, "In 2004, over 4,400 ophthalmic surgical procedures were performed at this surgery center contributing over $4.5 million in net revenue. I am very pleased that we will remain partners with Dr. Hunkeler and Dr. Cokingtin, who each have outstanding reputations."

NovaMed acquires and operates ambulatory surgery centers in partnership with physicians. NovaMed reports ownership interests in 26 surgery centers in 14 states.