A Medical Device Daily

VitalWorks (Ridgefield, Connecticut), a leader in radiology and diagnostic image and information technology solutions, reported completing the sale of its Medical Division (Birmingham, Alabama/Minneapolis) to Cerner (Kansas City, Missouri) for $100 million in cash, the deal first unveiled last November (Medical Device Daily, Nov. 17, 2004).

In addition, VitalWorks reported that it has changed its name to Amicas, with its Nasdaq trading symbol becoming AMCS effective yesterday. Its headquarters are now based in Boston.

With divestiture of the medical division, the company said that it plans an intensified focus on the radiology market. Amicas management said it believes that it is now in “a very strong position to leverage its technology and product suite, installed base, and implementation know-how to continue building a world-class image and information management solution company.“

The Amicas Vision Series products provide “an end-to-end solution“ for imaging centers, ambulatory care facilities and radiology practices. Acute-care and hospital clients use the Vision Series PACS (picture archiving and communications system) with its RIS and HCIS independence, enterprise workflow and scalable design.

Amicas Insight Services are a set of client-centered professional and consulting services that assist customers with the transition to a digital enterprise.

Cerner has said it purpose is “to take the paper chart out of healthcare, eliminating error, variance and waste in the care process.“ Its purchase of the Amicas Medical Division, it said, “will build on its hospital-affiliated physician client base.“

It has predicted the acquisition to be accretive to earnings-per-share in 2005, “with increasing contributions in 2006 and beyond.“

In other dealmaking activity:

IMV (Greenbelt, Maryland), a marketing research/consulting firm specializing in medical and other technology markets, has acquired AuntMinnie.com from Eastman Kodak (Rochester, New York). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

AuntMinnie.com operates an Internet site for radiologists and related professionals in medical imaging.

Dan Kerpelman, president of Kodak's Health Imaging Group, said, “We are a provider of medical imaging and information systems. Owning a news and information web site isn't part of our core strategy.“ He added: “AuntMinnie's business complements IMV's business nicely.“

AuntMinnie.com became part of Kodak in 2000 through an acquisition involving other medical imaging products. It reports more than 130,000 members worldwide as an online information, transaction and education site for the medical imaging field.

“AuntMinnie.com and IMV together offer an exciting and unparalleled source for tracking the growing markets for diagnostic imaging,“ said Mitchell Goldburgh, general manager of AuntMinnie.com.

IMV's databases of U.S. imaging sites with selected modalities provide assistance in planning, market development and sales initiatives. Current databases and information products include computed tomography, MRI, nuclear medicine, interventional angiography, fluoroscopy, diagnostic ultrasound, cardiac catheterization, echocardiography, positron emission tomography, radiation oncology and PACS, and multiple databases in clinical laboratory diagnostics and molecular and analytical research.

Kodak Health Imaging's portfolio ranges from computed radiography and digital radiography systems to traditional mammography systems, X-ray film systems and dental imaging products. The group reported 2003 revenues of $2.43 billion.

A.C.T. Holdings (formerly Two Moons Kachinas; San Francisco) has agreed to acquire Advanced Cell Tech-nology (Worcester, Massachusetts), a regenerative medicine company, for up to 17,736,175 shares of common stock of A.C.T. Holdings.

Michael West, chairman and chief scientific officer of Advanced Cell, said that Advanced Cell's technology “enables the development of embryonic stem cells and the differentiation of those stem cells and other cells into any of over 200 cell types in the body that can then be used for cell therapeutics.“ Its initial focus, he said, is on “the commercial applications of treating heart disease, immunodeficiency and cancer“ as well as developing retinal cells. “We believe that our becoming a public company is in the best interest of our shareholders and employees as we continue to implement our business plan.“

Closing of the merger is expected later this month.

Tenet Healthcare (Dallas) reported that several of its subsidiaries have completed the previously announced sale of five acute-care hospitals in California, Louisiana and Massachusetts. The completed transactions are: Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (Los Angeles), sold to the CHA Medical Group, with net proceeds estimated at about $71 million; St. Charles General Hospital (New Orleans), sold to Preferred Continuum Care, with net proceeds roughly $11 million; Saint Vincent Hospital at Worcester Medical Center (Worcester, Massachusetts) and two-campus MetroWest Medical Center, consisting of Leonard Morse Hospital (Natick, Massachusetts) and Framingham Union Hospital (Framingham, Massachusetts), sold to a subsidiary of Vanguard Health Systems, with net proceeds of about $169 million.

Tenet said proceeds would go to general corporate purposes.

The five hospitals are among 27 hospitals Tenet said in January 2004 that it was divesting. It has completed the sale of 18 facilities, with agreements to divest another four.

Select Medical (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) reported completing the purchase of SemperCare (Plano, Texas), operator of 17 long-term acute-care hospitals in 11 states. Financial details of the purchase were not released. With the acquisition, Select operates 99 long-term acute care hospitals in 26 states. Select also operates outpatient rehabilitation clinics in the U.S. and Canada, with about 750 locations, and it provides medical rehabilitation on a contract basis.

Pediatrix Medical Group (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), a provider of newborn and maternal/fetal physician services, reported completing the purchase of a neonatal physician practice in Macon, Georgia, serving patients in southern and central Georgia, effective Jan. 1. The transaction was completed with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Mitch Rodriguez, MD, will serve as Pediatrix's medical director in Macon.

Cardima regains Nasdaq compliance

Cardima (Fremont, California), developer of the Intellitemp and Revelation series of cardiac interventional systems for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF), reported that it has received written notice from Nasdaq that Nasdaq's staff has determined the company has regained compliance with Nasdaq Marketplace Rule requiring the company to maintain stockholders' equity of not less than $2.5 million, or $35 million market value of listed securities, or $500,000 of net income from continuing operations.

In November Nasdaq notified the company that it did not comply with the minimum requirements of stockholders' equity, or market value of listed securities, or net income from continuing operations requirements for the rule. Since then, the company's market value of listed securities has been $35 million or greater for 10 consecutive trading days. Accordingly, the Nasdaq notice to the company stated that it has regained compliance with the rule, and the matter is now closed.

ChondroGene in collaboration with Pfizer

ChondroGene (Toronto) reported that it has entered a new two-year research collaboration with Pfizer (New York) for the identification of novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers for the treatment and diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA). This collaboration will continue the work in two research programs that were initiated in the first company collaboration with Pfizer that started in October 2002.

The collaboration provides Pfizer with access to ChondroGene's database of osteoarthritis tissue-specific clinical and gene expression information to identify potential novel therapeutic targets for OA. The agreement also will allow ChondroGene to accelerate its OA biomarker research program. Development of new biomarkers is essential for the early diagnosis of OA as well as for validating the effectiveness of potential disease-modifying therapies for OA, the company said.

The two-year collaboration is valued at up to $7.35 million, compared to $4.7 million for the initial collaboration.

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