A Medical Device Daily

Gene Network Sciences (GNS; Ithaca, New York) reported that it has been awarded two Phase One Small Business Innovation Research Grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH; both Bethesda, Maryland). Each six-month grant is for $99,960.

One grant is being used to develop a simulation platform for creating data-driven computer models of cardiac electrophysiology. The second grant will help GNS extend its technology to include models of key cardiac signaling networks.

“One of the leading causes of market withdrawals and drug failure in late clinical trials is cardiac side effects,“ said Dr. Jeffrey Fox, director of physiology at GNS. “We see huge upside potential in helping pharmaceutical companies better understand how and why their drugs impact the heart.“

He added: “The simulation platform will provide a solid foundation for constructing comprehensive computer models of cardiac electrical function. The funding provided by the second grant will help us to begin incorporating protein networks that are important to heart function into our models.“

The simulation platform will connect molecular-level data on cardiac ion channel function to tissue-level properties. In this way, detailed, data-driven simulations of cardiac electrical activity can be developed, and then used to identify pro-arrhythmic markers, mechanism of action of drugs, and drug targets.

GNS will collaborate with Dr. Robert Gilmour at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) during the development and testing of the platform and the modeling of cardiac signaling networks.

These are the second and third NIH grants awarded in the past year to research teams led by Gilmour and Fox. Last February, GNS and Cornell announced that the teams, in conjunction with the University of California-San Diego, won a $2 million, four-year Bioengineering Research Grant to characterize ion channels via a computer model of the canine ventricle. This research aims to better understand the underlying mechanisms for ventricular fibrillation and to eventually have an impact on the diagnosis and treatment of deadly heart rhythm disorders.

Founded in August 2000, GNS integrates preclinical and clinical data into accurate and robust computer simulations of human cancer cells and the heart. GNS applies these data-driven computer models in drug development alliances with pharmaceutical companies to determine the mechanism of action of new drugs and the associated biomarkers of drug efficacy and toxicity.

Mid-Atlantic Group Network of Shared Services (MAGNET; Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania), one of the largest shared service organizations in the U.S., has signed a sole-source agreement with Zassi Medical Evolutions (Fernandina Beach, Florida) to provide MAGNET members with a bowel management system (BMS) that is unique to the MAGNET portfolio.

Effective Jan. 1, the three-year agreement is a result of input from healthcare providers via MAGNET's member organizations and their participating healthcare facilities.

MAGNET said the BMS was selected due to its design and functionality to meet the needs of healthcare providers and their patients to safely and more easily control the handling of all types of contaminated fecal materials in non-ambulatory patients.

“[Our] commitment to our 775 participating hospitals is based on our ability to identify innovative suppliers who share our mission of quality, value and cost advantage,“ said MAGNET vice president Steven Duke. “Our new partnership with Zassi will contribute greatly to the quality of service provided by our member organizations and facilitate improved patient outcomes.“

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