GE Medical Systems (Waukesha, Wisconsin) and Guidant (Indianapolis, Indiana) have entered into a long-term relationship to advance and improve patient care. Under the agreement, the companies will embark on several initiatives to integrate data from an implantable cardiovascular device into a patient's electronic medical record so that clinicians can quickly determine that patient's condition and make a more accurate diagnosis. "This relationship will strive to redefine the way cardiologists receive and access patient information," said Dow Wilson, president and chief executive officer of GE Medical Systems Information Technologies (GEMSIT; Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Guidant and GE will work to develop what they said would be the industry's first open standard of communication between implantable cardiovascular devices and clinical information systems, which they believe will dramatically improve clinical workflow and patient care. Specifically, Guidant devices will communicate with GE systems by sharing data from implantable devices to populate into GE's information systems. Guidant's Advanced Patient Management (APM) applications are designed to enable clinicians to monitor patient heart function remotely and automatically. Guidant intends to equip its pacemakers, defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization devices with telecommunications and information technologies. APM is being developed to provide real-time awareness so physicians can diagnose and treat patients with abnormal heart rhythms and those who struggle with heart failure. APM could decrease the need for routine follow-up physician visits, potentially reducing costs and improving clinician productivity while enhancing patient convenience.

Possis Medical (Minneapolis, Minnesota) has signed a letter of intent with Angiometrx, a subsidiary of Medical Ventures (Richmond, British Columbia), to act as the exclusive distributor of the Angiometrx Metricath 1000 console and measurement catheter products in the U.S. Medical Ventures and Possis said they intend to enter into a formal distribution agreement on or before March 1, 2004, subject to each company's satisfactory completion of product evaluation and due diligence activities. In addition, Medical Ventures will immediately begin working with Possis sales representatives to undertake a limited release of the Metricath System in a number of targeted U.S. medical centers. The Metricath System is a catheter-based technology that allows cardiologists to measure arterial size during procedures for treatment of coronary artery disease. The precise measurement of arterial dimensions is necessary to select appropriately sized dilatation balloons and stents to achieve optimum patient outcomes from coronary angioplasty and stent implantation procedures. Sizing is of particular importance when using the new, drug-eluting stents in order to ensure good stent apposition against the artery wall and to facilitate proper delivery of the drug contained on the stent. The Metricath System received FDA 510(k) clearance for sale in the U.S. in July. Medical Ventures Corp. is a medical technology company whose principal business is to develop and commercialize early stage medical technologies that clearly address a clinical need in the cardiovascular marketplace. Angiometrx, a subsidiary of Medical Ventures, specializes in the development of innovative catheter-based technologies for use by interventional cardiologists and radiologists. Possis Medical makes medical devices for the cardiovascular and vascular treatment markets.

Quinton Cardiology Systems (Bothell, Washington), a global developer of advanced cardiology solutions, and Nihon Kohden America (Foothill Ranch, California), a global developer of medical technology, signed a joint marketing agreement. Quinton will distribute Nihon Kohden's hospital line of ECG machines in the U.S. and will interface these with Quinton's cardiology management system, Pyramis. "This agreement builds on a very successful existing partnership with Nihon Kohden to sell stress systems in the Japanese market. The ability to sell Nihon Kohden's hospital line of ECG machines strengthens our strategy of broad, multi-vendor support for the Pyramis cardiology management system," said John Hinson, president and chief executive officer of Quinton Cardiology Systems. Nihon Kohden is Japan's leading manufacturer and distributor of medical electronic equipment. Its product lines consist of patient monitors, defibrillators, ECGs, EEGs, EP/EMGs, hematology analyzers and other medical electronic equipment. Quinton makes a family of diagnostic cardiology systems, marketing them under the Quinton and Burdick trade names.

Third Wave Technologies (Madison, Wisconsin), a molecular diagnostics developer, said that Mayo Medical Laboratories (MML), the international reference laboratory of the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota), has selected the company's Invader technology as its genetic testing platform for key blood-clotting and cardiovascular disease risk factors. MML, the world's largest hospital-based reference laboratory, provides lab testing and interpretation services for the Mayo Clinic and healthcare organizations throughout the U.S. and around the world. MML will use Third Wave's Invader technology to test for the Factor V Leiden and Factor II mutations and a MTHFR mutation. These mutations have been associated with increased risk of deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.