American Healthways (Nashville, Tennessee) signed a three-year agreement with Horizon Healthcare Services (HHS; Newark, New Jersey), and its subsidiary, Horizon Healthcare of New Jersey, to provide the company's disease management program for Horizon's commercial and Medicare+Choice members with congestive heart failure. The contract may be extended for up to two years if American Healthways meets certain clinical and financial performance targets. An estimated 7,500 eligible Horizon members will begin receiving services on Jan. 1. HHS is New Jersey's largest health insurer, providing coverage to more than 2.9 million people.

Biosite (San Diego, California) said it has filed a 510(k) submission, with the FDA seeking clearance to market the Triage BNP Test for Beckman Coulter (Fullerton, California) Immunoassay Systems, a diagnostic test that measures B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), a protein marker for congestive heart failure (CHF). The anticipated product is a result of an agreement signed in June for Beckman Coulter to manufacture and Biosite to commercialize the BNP test for use on Beckman's systems. Expected to be available in 1Q04, the BNP test will be sold worldwide through a combination of Biosite's direct and distributor sales forces. Designed to correlate to Biosite's existing Triage BNP Test run on its portable Triage MeterPlus testing platform, the BNP test will be available for use on Beckman Coulter systems, including the Access and Access 2 immunoassay systems, Synchron LXi 725 combination chemistry and immunoassay workstation, and the new high-throughput UniCel DxI 800 Access immunoassay system.

Camtronics Medical Systems (Hartland, Wisconsin), a provider of cardiovascular image and information management and hemodynamic monitoring technology, expanded on the strategic alliance it has formed with Quinton Cardiology Systems (Bothell, Washington). The companies will offer cardiac patient management solutions that integrate all patient data, from inpatient and outpatient environments, including screening, diagnostics, therapy and rehabilitation/disease management. Quinton makes diagnostic systems used in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with cardiovascular disease.

Cardiome Pharma (Vancouver, British Columbia) and Fujisawa Healthcare (Deerfield, Illinois), the U.S. subsidiary of Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co., said they executed a $68 million (C$90 million) strategic partnership agreement for the co-development and Fujisawa Healthcare's exclusive commercialization of Cardiome's intravenous antiarrhythmic agent, RSD1235, subject to customary regulatory approval. The companies will co-develop RSD1235 as an intravenous formulation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter for North American markets. Cardiome receives an up-front payment of $10 million upon execution of the agreement. Development and commercialization milestone payments totaling $54 million will be payable to Cardiome on the achievement of specific development and commercial sales targets. Fujisawa will be responsible for 75% of all future clinical development costs with Cardiome responsible for the remaining 25% of costs. All development activities will be jointly managed by employees of both companies. Fujisawa Healthcare will be responsible for the development plan, new drug application and registration, along with the commercial manufacturing, marketing and sale of RSD1235. Cardiome will manage the ongoing Phase III trial known as ACT 1 and the second planned study known as ACT 2. Cardiome also will be responsible for the continued manufacturing of clinical supplies of RSD1235. Cardiome will receive royalties on end-user sales of RSD1235 reflective of its 25% share of development costs and other financial considerations.

Novare Surgical Systems (Cupertino, California) has entered into a multiple-year supply agreement with Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts) under which Boston Scientific will purchase specially modified models of Novare's Intrack line of atraumatic surgical clamps and market them as part of its new Cobra Bipolar System used treat AF with radio frequency waves.

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, 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. The system received FDA 510(k) clearance in July.