CTI PET Systems (CPS; Knoxville, Tennessee), a unit of CTI Molecular Imaging, and Toshiba America Medical Systems (TAMS; Tustin, California), unveiled an agreement to jointly develop a line of integrated positron emission tomography(PET)/computed tomography (CT) systems for Toshiba to distribute in Japan. The agreement formalizes collaborative work that has taken place between the two companies for more than a year and expands a relationship under which Toshiba is presently a distributor in Japan for PET units manufactured by CPS. PET/CT is a technology that was co-invented by Ronald Nutt, PhD, president and CEO of CTI Molecular Imaging. It combines PET and computed tomography CT into one system to produce a PET image showing metabolic function and a CT image showing anatomic structure in a single study. This combination improves patient throughput without losing any image quality. PET/CT is used most frequently in the detection and treatment of cancer, neurological disorders and cardiac disease. The first prototype PET/CT developed by the companies was unveiled at the Congress of the Japan Radiological Society in April. CPS and Toshiba anticipate that the new PET/CT will be commercially available during the first half of 2005.

dj Orthopedics (San Diego), which specializes in rehabilitation and regeneration products for the non-operative orthopedic and spine markets, said it has signed a new three-year contract with HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG; Brentwood, Tennessee), a group purchasing organization that serves more than 1,100 healthcare facilities nationwide. Under the agreement, dj Orthopedics will sell its entire line of cold therapy products, including motorized IceMan and manual ArcticFlow cold therapy circulation units. The agreement also includes dj's line of DuraKold ice wraps, which feature a patented material that remains pliable after freezing.

IRIS International (Chatsworth, California), a maker of automated IVD urinalysis systems and medical devices used in hospitals and reference clinical laboratories, reported the development of a five-year purchasing agreement with the Stars & Stripes VISN 4 Healthcare Network (Pittsburgh) of the Department of Veterans Affairs for an order of 10 of the company's fully automated and semi-automated urine analyzers for the VA's health centers. The order consists of three iQ200 Systems, the company's flagship product platform, six AX-4280 automated urine chemistry analyzers and one AJ-4270 semi-automated urine chemistry analyzer for VA facilities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware. All of the medical centers in VISN 4 now have standardized on IRIS urinalysis equipment, the company said.

IT&E International Group (San Diego) reported that it has signed a long-term, multi-country agreement with Cordis (Miami Lakes, Florida), a unit of Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, New Jersey), for expanded FDA regulatory compliance services. The multi-country contract calls for IT&E to validate trial results and provide a variety of other regulatory compliance services for Cordis as it tests new medical devices. IT&E will supply these services to Cordis' laboratories in Miami, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

LabOne (Lenexa, Kansas) has signed an expanded, national agreement to provide laboratory testing services for Humana (Louisville, Kentucky). LabOne will provide its full laboratory services, including its widening esoteric menu, to Humana's health plan membership and contracted physicians in the insurer's Midwest region. The agreement enables Humana's membership and physicians to access LabOne's clinical and anatomic pathology services.

Merit Medical Systems (South Jordan, Utah), a maker of disposable products used primarily in cardiology and radiology procedures, has signed a supplier agreement with Premier Purchasing Partners, the group purchasing organization of Premier (San Diego), an alliance of hospitals and healthcare organizations. The agreement covers much of Merit's line of cardiology products, including diagnostic catheters, diagnostic guide wires, inflation devices and angioplasty accessories. It will run through Aug. 31, 2006.

Neoprobe (Dublin, Ohio), a developer of oncology and cardiovascular surgical and diagnostic products, reported the extension of its current distribution arrangement with Century Medical (Tokyo) to provide sales coverage for the Quantix products in Japan in addition to the neo2000 gamma detection system. Century Medical is a wholly owned subsidiary of Itochu (Tokyo).

Palomar Medical Technologies (Burlington, Massachusetts), a developer of light-based systems for hair removal and other cosmetic treatments, signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Cos. (JJCC; Skillman, New Jersey) to develop, clinically test and potentially commercialize home-use, light-based devices for reducing or reshaping body fat including cellulite, reducing appearance of skin aging, and reducing or preventing acne. The agreement provides for JJCC to fund Palomar's development and clinical studies during an initial proof-of-principle phase. The agreement provides for continued research and development of light- based technology and even possible product commercialization, if testing and regulatory requirements are met. Further details of the agreement are contained in a corresponding filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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