A Medical Device Daily

Alltracel Pharmaceuticals (Dublin, Ireland) said it has completed its acquisition of Westone Products (London), a product development company that supplies a full line of interdental and related specialist oral care products to the branded and private-label sectors in the European Union, U.S. and Asia.

The cash-and-stock deal involved a total consideration of EUR 8 million.

Alltracel is a biopharmaceutical R&D company specializing in polysaccharides manipulation for the medical device and food ingredient markets.

Its m-doc (micro-dispersed oxidized cellulose) product is used in the wound care market as a “stops bleeding“ ingredient within recognized bandage brands worldwide. m-doc is the active ingredient in the Alltracel-owned SEAL-ON consumer line.

In the cholesterol management market, pre-clinical studies have demonstrated success in use of the m-doc technology platform in reducing cholesterol and improving the HDL/LDL ratio.

Patents have been granted for cholesterol management applications in the EU, U.S. and Australia, with commercial routes to market under consideration by the company.

Alltracel CEO Tony Richardson said the companies “are a great commercial fit; we share many customers, have complimentary geographic footprints and exciting potential for innovative product development opportunities.“

He said the combination of the two companies “delivers a solid platform for expanding the m.doc brand, and an enhanced capability to bring new products to market.“

Richardson added: “Alltracel's marketing and brand development skills and experience will be applied to the existing Westone product portfolio and business development model; while the enlarged group will benefit from an enhanced product development capability, particularly for the professional/specialist wound care, oral care and cholesterol control markets.“

Completion of the deal gives Alltracel access to a series of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-based process patents in the oral care market, as well as to a manufacturing and packaging plant in Shenzhen, China.

PTFE is a nonflammable plastic tubing or sheeting used to line vessels, insulate, protect or lubricate apparatus. It also is used as a coating for surgical implants or as prosthetic material.

Alltracel Chief Operating Officer Donal O'Brien assumes operational responsibility for Westone and its joint venture in Shenzhen, and is supervising the integration process.

UK allocates funds for NHS physicians

Up to £75 million has been allocated by the UK government to fund new contracts for National Health Service (NHS) doctors at the staff and associate specialist levels.

Health Minister John Hutton has asked NHS employers to negotiate new contractual arrangements for these staff for implementation beginning in April 2006. The reforms, which are expected to benefit more than 7,000 NHS personnel, could include a stronger link between pay and competence, incentives for out-of-hours work where appropriate, and a degree of local flexibility to meet patient needs.

In addition to introducing a new pay structure, the new contractual arrangements are expected to improve services for patients by deploying physicians' skills more efficiently.

Hutton said, “There are already record numbers of doctors and nurses in the NHS, but the new contractual reforms for staff grades and associate specialists will make the role more attractive for prospective entrants. Along with the new GP [general practitioner] and consultant contracts and the Agenda for Change pay reforms, it means even more NHS staff will be properly rewarded for the work that they do.“

He said the new contractual arrangements “will encourage the retention of doctors who are not consultant or GP level but who fulfil a vital role in the NHS.“

The decision on the new pay structure comes after a report by the NHS Confederation that recommended negotiations on a new contract for staff grades and associate specialists, and that non-GP qualified clinical assistants and hospital practitioners be brought into the new contractual arrangements.“

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