Acacia Research (Newport Beach, California) said that Dr. Ulrich Melcher of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology and Dr. Alexander C. Lai of the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at Oklahoma State University (Stollwater, Oklahoma) will use CombiMatrix's "Bird Flu" CustomArray devices to characterize influenza A viruses at the genomic level. One goal of this project is to speed the development of better identification and characterization methods for influenza viruses. The "Bird Flu" arrays will be used by Melcher and Lai to study and characterize various strains of the human and avian flu viruses for rapid typing of a wide range of subtypes from H1 to H15 and N1 to N8. Acacia's CombiMatrix group is developing a platform technology to rapidly produce customizable active biochips, which are semiconductor-based tools for use in identifying and determining the roles of genes, gene mutations and proteins. The technology has a wide range of applications, including DNA synthesis/diagnostics, siRNA synthesis, drug discovery, and immunochemical detection.

Aramark (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) has selected MedServ International (Beltsville, Maryland) as its exclusive provider of endoscope and surgical repair/maintenance services for Aramark Healthcare Management Services' Clinical Technology Services (CTS) business. Under the agreement, Aramark's on-site technicians can leverage MedServ's warranty program and technical capabilities to reduce the cost of surgical instrument repair at hospitals across the country. Through MedServ, Aramark will deliver service, support and repair of flexible and rigid endoscopes as well as surgical instruments to its healthcare customers.

As part of a continued commitment to innovation in the area of diabetes, Eli Lilly and Co. (Indianapolis, Indiana), said it has created a strategic relationship with EyeTel Imaging (Savage, Maryland) to improve screening and detection of diabetic retinopathy, one of the potentially devastating diabetic microvascular complications. The agreement, which expands the relationship between the two companies, will provide EyeTel with ongoing operational support from Lilly, allowing EyeTel to provide primary care physicians access to state-of-the-art patient risk assessment tools and education programs. EyeTel's DigiScope technology allows primary care physicians to perform simple eye risk assessments for diabetic retinopathy in the convenience of a routine office visit.

Medtronic Physio-Control (Redmond, Washington), a provider of emergency cardiac technology, said that it has been awarded a multi-year contract from American Medical Response (AMR; Greenwood Village, Colorado), which describes itself as the nation's largest provider of medical transportation, to be its exclusive supplier of defibrillators. Under this agreement, Medtronic Lifepak 500 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and Lifepak 12 defibrillators/monitors could be placed in more than 4,000 vehicles in 32 states.

Osteotech (Eatontown, New Jersey) has entered into a five-year agreement with Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics (Memphis, Tennessee), a provider of joint reconstruction, trauma and clinical therapy products, for the processing and distribution of a private label demineralized bone matrix (DBM) to the U.S. hospital and surgical center markets. Under the terms of the agreement, Osteotech will process the private-label DBM to specifications agreed to by both parties. Smith & Nephew will promote the private-label DBM to surgeons performing general orthopedic procedures other than spine procedures. It is anticipated that the private label DBM will be introduced into the market in early 3Q04 in gel, putty, paste, flex and demineralized cancellous crunch forms.

Primagen Holding (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), a provider of molecular diagnostic tests for infectious diseases, AIDS and cancer, reported that it has entered into distribution agreements for its Retina Rainbow products with Farmaplus NV (Curacao, Netherlands Antilles), Ilex Pty Ltd. (Woodmead, Gauteng, South Africa) and Xakaza & Partners (Durban, South Africa). All three distributors will promote and sell the Primagen Retina Rainbow HIV-1 RNA test, concentrating on Primagen's Dry Fluid Spot Filter paper technology, thus bringing HIV monitoring to resource-poor settings. All three parties also have the rights to represent Primagen for the other Retina products as well, such as the Retina Mitox test.

Stryker Trauma (Geneva, Switzerland), a Stryker (Kalamazoo, Michigan) company, and Inion Ltd. (Tampere, Finland) have entered into an exclusive agreement for Stryker's North American distribution of the OTPS Biodegradable product line. Joint product launch for the North American market took place during the March American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting in San Francisco, California. OTPS is a plate, screw and mesh system produced from proprietary biomaterials. In addition to eliminating surgical removal of the components, OTPS are supplied sterile, reducing the risk of cross-infection.