Andromed (Montreal, Quebec) and Premier Purchasing Partners (San Diego, California), a healthcare purchasing group, have signed a two-year agreement to promote the Androscope i-stethos, an advanced electronic stethoscope designed and manufactured by Andromed, to Premier's network of 1,600 hospitals and healthcare systems in the U.S. The stethoscope enhances physicians' ability to diagnose heart and lung pathologies, optimizing auscultation and efficiency by providing real-time analysis on demand.

ArthroCare (Sunnyvale, California), a multi-business medical device company that develops products based on its patented Coblation technology, has entered into a research collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkley, California), the High Current Electronics Institute (Tomsk, Russia) and the Russian State Research Center Troitsk Institute for Innovation and Fusion Research. The research will focus on the physics involved in using Coblation technology to dissolve soft tissue with the goal being to develop breakthrough medical applications based on this technology. The collaboration is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) program, whose mission is to enhance U.S. national security by engaging former Soviet Union scientists, engineers and technicians currently or formerly involved with weapons of mass destruction in peaceful and sustainable commercial pursuits. The project is expected to last two years.

B. Braun Medical (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) has signed a purchasing contract with Consorta (Rolling Meadows, Illinois), a group purchasing and resource management company, for B. Braun anesthesia trays including B. Braun's complete line of peripheral nerve block products. The three-year, dual-source contract runs through March 1, 2006. The Consorta membership comprises more than 400 acute-care facilities representing 55,944 beds and more than 1,700 non-acute care sites. The contract encompasses B. Braun's full pain control product line. Consorta members also will have access to B. Braun's new series of Aesculap Academy peripheral nerve block workshops designed for anesthesiologists interested in increasing their proficiency in peripheral nerve block techniques.

Centerpulse Spine-Tech (Winterthur, Switzerland) has entered into an exclusive North American marketing and distribution agreement with U&I Corp. of South Korea for its Optima Spinal System. The Optima product line expands Spine-Tech's current Silhouette and ST360 pedicle screw offering. Spinal fusions are a common treatment for instability or spinal correction due to degenerative disc disease, trauma, deformity and tumor, among others. U&I manufactures orthopedic medical devices in South Korea and distributes them throughout the world.

Correlogic Systems (Bethesda, Maryland), developer of new cancer detection tests that use just a single drop of blood from a patient, has entered into an agreement with Advion BioSciences (Ithaca, New York), a provider of mass spectrometry services and products, to explore the use of Advion's NanoMate System as a component of Correlogic's upcoming ovarian cancer clinical trials. Correlogic's test, called Proteome Pattern Blood Test, scans a drop of blood for protein patterns generated by a mass spectrometer. The companies have begun the research and validation process, and planned to detail results to date at this month's American Society of Mass Spectrometry conference.

Orthovita (Malvern, Pennsylvania) and Kensey Nash (Exton, Pennsylvania) have entered into an agreement to commercialize new products based on Orthovita's ultra-porous Vitoss bone void filler material in combination with Kensey Nash biomaterials. The new products will build upon the Vitoss technology, a highly porous, resorbable calcium phosphate scaffold that allows for resorption, cell seeding and rapid in-growth of host bone. The products will be directed toward the spinal surgery market, estimated at $1.2 billion on a worldwide basis. Kensey Nash will manufacture the products and Orthovita will market and sell them worldwide. Orthovita expects to launch the initial products for spine applications in 2004.

Victhom Human Bionics (Quebec City, Quebec) and Ossur hf (Reykjavik Iceland) have reached a partnership agreement aimed at the worldwide commercialization of Victhom's prosthetic products. Under terms of the agreement, Ossur will act as the manufacturer and distributor of Victhom's technology platform in the prosthetics market. This licensing agreement provides for the commercialization of Victhom's first product, as well as the co-development of other products in the field of orthotics and prosthetics using Victhom's bionic technology. The agreement provides for an initial payment to Victhom of $2 million as well as royalties to be paid for the duration of the patents under license and the establishment of an integrated development plan. The partnership also includes a co-branding clause in which Victhom will be recognized as the innovation provider and technology leader in the human bionic field. Ossur is an international manufacturer of prosthetics devices. Victhom makes bionic devices aimed at improving the quality of life of people suffering from physical dysfunctions.