The Cooper Companies (Lake Forest, California) said its CooperVision unit has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Biocompatibles Eyecare, the contact lens business of Biocompatibles International plc (Farnham, Surrey, UK), for nearly $98 million. The acquisition is subject to the approval of Biocompatibles International's shareholders and is expected to close before April 1. Biocompatibles Eye Care, the world's sixth-largest contact lens manufacturer, had worldwide revenue in 2001 of about $70 million. About 70% of sales are outside the U.S. The Proclear product line accounts for about 45% of the division's worldwide revenues.

Medi-Hut (Lakewood, New Jersey) said that it has agreed to purchase the intellectual property pertaining to the Solo-Safe syringe made by Spectrum Biotech. Spectrum has patents pending for the device and is awaiting FDA clearance. No terms of the purchase were disclosed. The syringe is used for intramuscular injections. When the plunger is retracted, the needle is forced back into the syringe barrel and dislodges off to one side. The plunger handle then snaps off at an engineered point, resulting in the syringe barrel holding the used needle in a miniature quasi-"sharps" container.Medi-Hut manufactures the Elite brand anti-stick safety syringe that incorporates a transparent sleeve into which the needle automatically retracts after use.

MedSource Technologies (Minneapolis, Minnesota) said it has completed the acquisition of HV Technologies (HVT; Trenton, Georgia), a market leader in the specialized manufacturing of high-performance, thin-wall polyimide and composite tubing and catheter systems. These products are used in interventional and minimally invasive catheters, delivery systems and instruments. "We believe the acquisition of HVT significantly strengthens our interventional capabilities and our medical engineering and manufacturing services offering to the medical device industry," said Richard Effress chairman and CEO of MedSource Technologies. "The acquired proprietary processes, along with our existing capabilities in the interventional device markets, including new product development, specialized wire forming(PTCA guidewires) and device assembly, will allow us to deliver a single-source solution to our customers."

Medtronic (Minneapolis, Minnesota) reported that it has acquired from GE Medical Systems Information Technology (GEMS IT; Waukesha, Wisconsin) that company's Paceart division, a leader in the development of database systems for pacemakers, implantable defibrillators and arrhythmia management systems. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Michael Bergelson, PhD, president of Paceart, will join Medtronic's management team and Paceart will become an operating unit of Medtronic's CRM Patient Management Group. Medtronic said that the acquisition offers a "major step in [our] strategy to provide post-implant solutions to help physicians better and more efficiently manage patients with cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure." And it noted that the acquisition follows FDA approval of Medtronic's CareLink Monitor and software for remote patient management. Medtronic said it would combine its CareLink Network with Paceart's expertise in cardiac follow-up systems to create "a powerful, industry-wide solution for the care of patients with cardiac devices." Medtronic has an implanted base of two million patients. It said it would maintain the Paceart systems with implants and programmers from major device manufacturers.

Neoprobe (Dublin, Ohio) said it has closed on its acquisition of Biosonix (Hod Hasharon, Israel), a developer of blood flow measurement technology, in a stock deal valued at about $4 million. At the closing, Neoprobe issued 9.71 million shares of Neoprobe common stock in exchange for all of the outstanding shares of Biosonix. An additional 2.09 million shares of Neoprobe common stock will be issued to the Biosonix shareholders on the satisfaction of a milestone event involving Biosonix product development activity. Biosonix currently has three products in the late stages of development. The first product, the FlowGuard, has received CE mark clearance in Europe; none of the Biosonix products have received U.S. marketing clearance.

Sparta Surgical (Livermore, California) has signed a non-binding letter of intent to merge with Shepard Medical Products (Riverside, Illinois), with Sparta as the surviving company. Shepard makes infection control disposable gloves for a broad range of customers in the medical, pharmaceutical, food, military and service industries. Under the terms of the merger, Sparta will issue approximately 55% of its then outstanding common stock and $500,000 cash to Shepard. Thomas Reiner will remain chairman of the board and CEO of the merged company. Chris Wright, founder and CEO of Shepard will be president and COO of the merged company. Sparta makes reusable and single-use specialty medical and surgical instruments, implant devices, equipment and related accessories.

Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, California) has acquired Argus Software (Redwood, California), a specialized supplier of software for management of quality control and test data for radiation oncology and diagnostic imaging equipment. The terms of the non-dilutive, cash acquisition of Argus were not disclosed. Argus Software will become part of Varian's Oncology Systems business, also based in Palo Alto.

Source: The BBI Newsletter.