• Medical Present Value (MPV; San Antonio) reported the availability of Patient Portion Pricer, a time-of-service coll- ections module that accurately calculates expected patient financial responsibility before or at the time of service. Patient Portion Pricer is integrated with MPV Phynance, a web-based revenue cycle management tool that values patient care services, identifies contractual underpayments and helps medical groups achieve appropriate reimbursement. Using Phynance claims valuation logic and MPV's database of client reimbursement contracts and payment rules, Patient Portion Pricer allows front-office staff to immediately determine patient balances that should be collected. The company said collecting the balance, including deductible and co-insurance, before the patient leaves the office will reduce outstanding receivables and the costs related to patient billing and collections.

• NeoSurg Technologies (Houston) reported that it has been granted a patent relating to its bladeless tip technology. U.S. patent No. 6,835,201, covers a bladeless tip geometry for the T2000 Reusable Trocar System. The T2000 system consists of a reusable trocar constructed of titanium and hard-anodized aluminum for durability and reliability.

• Safeguard Medical Technologies (Cleveland) said it has joined forces with the British firm Environmental Asset Management (EAM) to distribute worldwide the Disintegrator, a needle/lancet destruction device. The Disintegrator portable unit uses a Plasma Arc to melt hypodermic needles and lancets at a temperature of more than 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving a blunt, harmless nub at the end of the syringe. Disposal is safe and immediate. A built-in rechargeable battery disintegrates more than 100 needles between charges. Inserts are included to accommodate all manner of insulin syringes, lancets and pen needles.

• StemCells (Palo Alto, California) reported the filing of its first investigational new drug application to the FDA. Subject to approval, the company plans to begin its first clinical investigation of its human neural stem cells (HuCNS-SC) product in Batten disease, a rare, fatal genetic disorder that affects the central nervous system of children. If approved by the FDA, this would mark the first-ever FDA-approved clinical trial to use a purified composition of human neural stem cells as the potential therapeutic agent. The proposed Phase I trial is designed to investigate the safety of HuCNS-SC in the treatment of infantile and late-infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, the most severe forms of Batten disease. The trial will be an open-label study of two dose levels involving three subjects in each of two cohorts. The primary objective will be to measure the safety of HuCNS-SC. The trial will also will evaluate HuCNS-SC's ability to affect the progression of the disease. The patient/subject evaluation will be up to one year post-HuCNS-SC transplantation.

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