Applied Medical (Rancho Santa Margarita, California) said it has been awarded a supplier agreement with Premier (San Diego, California) for endomechanical kits, ligation systems and trocars. The contract is the third supplier agreement between Applied Medical and Premier Purchasing Partners, the group purchasing organization of Premier. Under the new, non-exclusive contract, Applied Medical will supply endoscopic instrumentation including clip appliers, multiple trocar systems for abdominal access during laparoscopic surgery, Separator Systems for bladeless abdominal access, and endoscopic procedure kits designed to meet the particular needs of the physician.

Competitive Technologies (CTT; Fairfield, Connecticut) said it has signed separate agreements with Quest Diagnostics (Teterboro, New Jersey) and Prodesse (Waukesha, Wisconsin) enabling each company non-exclusive use of the patented technology for the Rapid Assay of Human Enteroviruses in their respective product lines. The technology is the result of research by Dr. Harley Rotbart conducted at the University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado), a CTT client.

Edwards Lifesciences (Irvine, California), said it has entered into an alliance with PLC Medical Systems (Franklin, Massachusetts) to commercialize products for the surgical treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Under the exclusive, multi-year agreement, Edwards will transfer to PLC assets and technologies related to its Optimaze surgical laser ablation program. PLC will assume the responsibility of ongoing product development and manufacturing of the Optimaze system and disposable components. Edwards will be the exclusive worldwide distributor of those products. The Optimaze surgical laser ablation device utilizes a proprietary fiberoptic and diffuser technology to give clinicians a flexible tool to create a rise in tissue temperature resulting in thermal ablation of the cardiac tissue. It is believed that the lesions created in this process block the conduction of errant electrical signals in the heart. Edwards said the arrangement builds upon its existing relationship with PLC as the exclusive distributor of PLC's transmyocardial revascularization (TMR) Heart Laser system for cardiac revascularization. Edwards also said it has extended its existing distribution relationship with PLC for TMR products, including lengthening the term and improving the distribution margin for disposable products.

Exide Technologies (Princeton, New Jersey), a global leader in stored electrical-energy solutions, has extended its 10-year relationship with Sunrise Medical. In signing the new agreement, Exide said it has secured its status as the major battery supplier to the UK-based manufacturer of rehabilitation products and assistive technology devices for people with disabilities. Sunrise Medical products are distributed through an exclusive dealer network. Under the new agreement, Exide will supply a range of batteries and charging systems to Sunrise Medical distributors in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The batteries will be used in power wheelchairs, positioning and seating products, hoists, ambulatory aids and scooters.

NMT Medical (Boston, Massachusetts) and the National Stroke Association (NSA; Englewood, Colorado) said the organizations have joined forces to promote the education and understanding of cryptogenic stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) in young patients. Cryptogenic stroke and TIA are of unknown origin and are in some cases associated with a common heart defect known as a patent foramen ovale, or PFO. Clinical trials are under way to study the best therapy for these patients. The NSA is a leading resource for information regarding stroke.

Premier Purchasing Partners (Oak Brook, Illinois) has awarded a multi-source contract to two companies for bulk oxygen and cylinder gases. The five-year agreements were effective Feb 1. Airgas (Radnor, Pennsylvania) received contracts for bulk and cylinder medical gases, safety products, disposable respiratory delivery systems and rental respiratory equipment. BOC (Murray Hill, New Jersey) received a contract for bulk and cylinder medical gases.

R2 Technology (Sunnyvale, California), a developer of computer-aided detection (CAD) for the early detection of breast cancer, has extended its agreement as the only supplier of CAD technology to AmeriNet (St. Louis, Missouri). The single-source agreement provides preferred pricing for all Amerinet members on R2's entire ImageChecker family of CAD products for mammography, including the ImageChecker DM for higher-volume facilities, the ImageChecker DX for medium-volume groups and the ImageChecker LX for lower-volume mammography practices.

Vascular Solutions (Minneapolis, Minnesota) has entered into an agreement with B. Braun Medical (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) providing for the inclusion of Vascular Solutions' D-Stat Dry hemostatic bandage with B. Braun Medical's vena cava filter kits sold in the U.S.