Alliance Medical (Phoenix, Arizona), a reprocessor of single-use medical devices (SUDs), said VHA (Irving, Texas), a cooperative of community-owned healthcare organizations, has renewed a three-year contract with Alliance. Alliance will be one of only two suppliers to offer medical device reprocessing services to VHA's nationwide network of hospitals. VHA's contract renewal with Alliance extends an agreement signed in August 2001. More than 210 VHA members are Alliance customers.

American Healthways (Nashville, Tennessee), a provider of disease management, care enhancement and high-risk health management programs, unveiled a five-year agreement with Preferred Care Partners (Miami, Florida) to offer its diabetes, cardiac, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and 11 impact condition programs to the health plan's 7,500 Medicare+Choice members beginning July 1. Preferred Care Partners is the only state-licensed, provider-sponsored organization (PSO) in Miami-Dade County with a Medicare+Choice contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS; Baltimore, Maryland).

Endologix (Irvine, California) has signed an agreement with Edwards Lifesciences (also Irvine) for Edwards to distribute the Endologix PowerLink System in selected European markets, including Belgium, France, Germany and the UK. The PowerLink System is an endoluminal stent graft (ELG) for the minimally invasive treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Terms of the distribution agreement were not disclosed. "In the past, our efforts in Europe have focused on developing long-term data to validate clinical outcomes and device durability for the PowerLink System," said Paul McCormick, Endologix's president and chief executive officer. "Those efforts culminated in the presentation of clinical results from two significant studies at the recent European Vascular Congress. Both studies demonstrated excellent outcomes." The PowerLink System is a unibody self-expandable device, with a durable frame made of stainless steel alloy covered with an ePTFE graft. The one-piece bifurcated design featuring a fully supported stent cage was developed to overcome the many shortcomings associated with earlier-generation ELG devices. The PowerLink System is covered by 15 U.S. patents with 331 allowed claims. Endologix has filed a premarket approval submission with the FDA to market the PowerLink System in the U.S., and expects to receive approval in the second half of this year. Upon receiving FDA marketing clearance, the company plans to initiate a focused U.S. product launch.

Misys Healthcare Systems (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Midmark Diagnostics Group (Torrance, California) have formed an alliance that will enable physicians to integrate data from Midmark's diagnostic measurement devices into Misys EMR, Misys' electronic medical records solution. The integration will be available in the next major release of Misys EMR, scheduled for beta testing later this year. The companies said the agreement will enable physicians to acquire, view and diagnose results from electrocardiograms, spirometers and Holter tests much more efficiently. Midmark offers digital diagnostic medical devices through its IQmark product line. Misys Healthcare Systems, a division of Misys plc, develops a comprehensive suite of information products and currently serves more than 85,000 physicians, 1,200 hospitals and 600 home care providers.

Novare Surgical Systems (Cupertino, California), a privately held provider of devices for cardiovascular and vascular surgery, has formed an exclusive distribution agreement with Medtronic (Minneapolis, Minnesota) for Novare's Enclose II Cardiac Anastomosis Assist Device used in off-pump and on-pump coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Medtronic's Cardiac Surgery Technologies division will distribute the Enclose II in Europe, Africa, Canada, South America and most of Asia. Financial terms were not provided. "Our alliance with Medtronic enables Novare to access cardiac surgery markets worldwide through an extraordinary marketing and sales organization," said Kerry Pope, president and chief executive officer. "We believe that Enclose II offers Medtronic's customers a unique solution for eliminating the risks associated with use of partial occlusion clamps during CABG surgery." Novare was founded in 1999 to develop devices for tissue manipulation during cardiovascular, thoracic and peripheral vascular surgeries.

Third Wave Technologies (Madison, Wisconsin) and Innogenetics NV (Gent, Belgium) have signed a four-year marketing and distribution agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Third Wave has granted Innogenetics the exclusive European marketing and distribution rights for select Invader molecular diagnostic products in the field of genetic testing. The agreement will allow Third Wave to initiate its market penetration into the growing European molecular diagnostics market. Innogenetics' European-wide sales organization will market and distribute a number of Invader clinical molecular diagnostic products for the genetic testing of risk factors in the areas of cardiovascular diseases, blood coagulation, and hearing disorders, including Factor V Leiden, Factor II (prothrombin), Connexin 26 and others. These products are based on Third Wave's Invader platform, a chemistry-based technology that is designed to provide exceptional accuracy, flexibility, and ease of use. Innogenetics may also distribute other new genetics-related tests developed by Third Wave in the future.