Cepheid (Sunnyvale, California) and Applera Corp., through its Applied Biosystems Group (Foster City, California), and Celera Diagnostics, a joint venture between Applied Biosystems and Applera's Celera Genomics Group (also Norwalk), said that they have entered into a patent license agreement relating to real-time thermal cycler instruments for research, diagnostics and other applications. Under the terms of the agreement, Cepheid has been granted a non-exclusive worldwide license to make, use and sell Cepheid's SmartCycler and GeneXpert real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) thermal cyclers, as well as certain other Cepheid thermal cyclers, under Applera's Real-Time Apparatus patent rights. This agreement expands Cepheid's rights under an existing agreement between Cepheid and Applera to the human diagnostics field (excluding detection, characterization, and monitoring of HIV and hepatitis C infections). Cepheid will pay Applera a license fee of $11.5 million over a two-year period, a majority of which relates to diagnostic rights.

Durect (Cupertina, California) and NeuroSystec (Valencia, California) signed an exclusive agreement involving products for the treatment of inner ear disorders. Durect granted to NeuroSystec exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize products designed for the treatment of tinnitus and to improve post-operative recovery and tolerance of surgical implantation of cochlear devices using specified Durect drug treatment methods and drug delivery technologies to deliver precise doses of appropriate medications directly to the middle or inner ear. NeuroSystec paid to Durect an undisclosed up-front fee and will make additional payments to that company based on the achievement of specific milestones and research and development activities.

Novation (Irving, Texas), the supply company of VHA and the University HealthSystem Consortium, has signed an agreement with Medela (McHenry, Illinois) for manual and electric breast pumps and accessories. The agreement, which runs through Dec. 31, 2006, also extends to healthcare organizations that purchase supplies through HealthCare Purchasing Partners International, a company that markets Novation purchasing agreements to non-members of VHA and UHC.

Orthovita (Malvern, Pennsylvania), a developer of biomaterials for use in spine and orthopedic surgery, has entered into a sales distribution agreement with Cohesion Technologies (Palo Alto, California), a wholly owned subsidiary of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (Vancouver, British Columbia), to handle distribution, sales and marketing for Costasis (Vitagel) composite liquid hemostat and the Cellpaker collection system to surgical customers throughout North America, with options to expand the territory to include the European Union and the rest of the world. Angiotech entered into a letter of intent pursuant to which it intends to complete a $25 million equity investment in Orthovita. Vitagel is a composite liquid hemostat used to control bleeding and promote soft tissue healing in surgical procedures in the spine, knee, hip and other areas. The Cellpaker system is used to facilitate the collection of a patient's own autologous plasma that is then mixed with Vitagel prior to administration during surgery.

Perot Systems (Plano, Texas) reported signing a five-year, $10 million contract with Broadlane (San Francisco, California), a provider of business services for the healthcare industry. Under the contract Perot Systems will continue to provide Broadlane with technology management services, including server and database administration, desktop support and network management. Broadlane has used the services of Perot Systems for the past four years.

Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pennsylvania) and Gamma Medica (Northridge, California) reported that they have expanded the scope of their 2003 marketing agreement. Since July 2003, Siemens has held exclusive U.S. marketing rights for Gamma's molecular imaging product, X-SPECT. Under the new agreement, those rights have been extended to include the worldwide market. X-SPECT is Gamma Medica's second-generation MicroSPECT system. It is a dual-modality system for pre-clinical imaging, combining the functional nuclear imaging technique, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), with anatomical imaging provided by computed tomography.

Sonomax Hearing Healthcare (Montreal, Quebec), developer of the SonoCustom in-the-ear expansion technology, has entered into a strategic alliance with the Canadian high-technology and systems solution firm Gennum (Burlington, Ontario) to combine expertise and resources in an effort to create new and improved products for the hearing healthcare and communications industries. The collaboration will seek to adapt Sonomax's custom-fit technology to Gennum's circuitry and technology. The initial thrust of the initiative will focus on integrating Sonomax's instant-fit, custom-fit earmolds into Gennum's HearPhone technology, a combination Bluetooth wireless headset and hearing device that is slated for market launch later this year.