A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Akers Biosciences (Thorofare, New Jersey) reported that it has agreed to establish an alliance with Alco Industries (Buena Park, California) to distribute certain of Akers' rapid diagnostic tests to U.S. retail markets. Akers already has begun shipments of product to Alco; the size of the re-orders will be determined by the response from these initial orders.

Akers said its partnership with Alco represents a step in its efforts to penetrate a large segment of the U.S. healthcare market. Dr. Ray Akers, CEO of Akers Biosciences, said, "The broad reach of Alco into the U.S. retail marketplace provides us with a powerful route to distribute many of our products. We are fortunate to form an alliance with a partner with proven abilities in creating a significant impact with its products and services in many different market segments."

Akers makes rapid point-of-care screening and testing products.

In other agreement news:

Emageon (Birmingham, Alabama), a provider of enterprise intelligent visual medical systems to hospitals and healthcare networks, said that it has entered into a 10-year, digital healthcare information management agreement with Sisters of St. Francis Health Services (Mishawaka, Indiana), an integrated network of 12 hospitals, clinics and associated facilities in Indiana and Illinois.

Bill Laker, chief information officer of Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, said, "Emageon's advanced visualization technology will enable us to provide three-dimensional imaging tools to radiologists and key referring physicians such as orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and other specialists whose practices are very image-intensive.

Chuck Jett, Emageon's chairman and CEO, said, "We are especially pleased to have constructed an agreement that allows us to stay engaged with key Sisters of St. Francis physicians . . . through regularly scheduled meetings focusing on reducing costs, providing better service to physicians and enhancing patient care."

Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRLI; Elmwood Park, New Jersey), which describes itself as the largest clinical laboratory in the Northeast, said it has signed a strategic marketing agreement with BDBiosciences, a unit of Becton Dickinson (San Jose, California). Under the agreement, the companies will work together to develop BRLI's marketing strategies for its GenFlow "virtual cytometry" solution.

BD assisted BRLI with developing the new BRLI GenFlow product, which enables remote physician customers of BioReference to access the flow cytometry data produced by the BD flow cytometry equipment over the Internet to review work product, request changes, additions or modifications and to build reports through the BioReference CareEvolve connectivity portal. The new GenFlow product was introduced in February and will be marketed through the GenPath division of BioReference Laboratories to physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers throughout the country.