Biotronik (Lake Oswego, Oregon) and InSource Health Services, a MedAssets (Woodale, Illinois) company, have signed a joint purchasing agreement for cardiac pacemakers, implantable defibrillators and related accessories. The sole-source agreement became effective last month. Biotronik is a maker of implantable devices for the treatment of bradycardia and tachycardia arrhythmias. InSource Health Services is a group purchasing organization.

Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts) said it has entered into an agreement with Natural Pharmaceuticals (Beverly, Massachusetts) in which that company will exclusively supply Boston Scientific paclitaxel for use with a wide range of medical devices. Paclitaxel is a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of hyperproliferative diseases such as cancer and restenosis. Boston Scientific also has made an equity investment in privately held Natural Pharmaceuticals. No terms were disclosed. Natural Pharmaceuticals has a proprietary technology for producing paclitaxel from yew trees, the primary source for paclitaxel. The company has access to several million ornamental yew trees under cultivation in the U.S. "This agreement should go a long way toward ensuring that we have a steady supply of high-quality paclitaxel," said Dr. Jim Barry, vice president of corporate research and advanced technology development at Boston Scientific. Boston Scientific said plans to continue to coat its coronary stent products and other vascular and non-vascular products with paclitaxel under the worldwide, co-exclusive rights granted to it by Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (Vancouver, British Columbia).

Novametrix Medical Systems (Wallingford, Connecticut) said it has entered into an agreement with Puritan Bennett, a division of Tyco Healthcare International (Pembroke, Bermuda), under which Puritan Bennett will co-market and distribute Novametrix's NICO cardiopulmonary monitors in the U.S. Puritan Bennett president Michael Terner said he believed that the company's sales force "will substantially increase NICO sales, particularly in the intensive care unit." Puritan Bennett makes respiratory products for diagnosing, monitoring and treating patients wherever they receive care. Novametrix products include electronic medical instruments and sensors that non-invasively and continuously monitor cardiac output, oxygen, carbon dioxide and respiratory mechanics.

Raytel Cardiac Services (RCS; Windsor, Connecticut), a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytel Medical (San Mateo, California), has renewed a sales representation agreement with Guidant (Indianapolis, Indiana). Guidant's sales force will represent RCS's remote pacemaker monitoring service on a national basis. Raytel is a provider of diagnostic information over secure Internet links, as well as ambulatory diagnostic imaging facilities for general as well as cardiac imaging. Guidant makes therapeutic medical devices for the treatment of cardiovascular and vascular diseases.

Cardinal Health (Dublin, Ohio) and St. Joseph Health System (SJHS; Orange, California) have signed a five-year corporate agreement for pharmaceuticals; medical, surgical and laboratory products and services; and pharmacy and supply automation. The agreement is expected to generate revenues of approximately $600 million over the course of the contract. SJHS is an integrated Catholic health-care delivery system that provides medical services in California, Texas and New Mexico. Under the agreement, SJHS will purchase pharmaceuticals from Cardinal Distribution; medical, surgical and laboratory products and services from Allegiance Healthcare; and pharmacy and supply automation from Pyxis. All three are Cardinal Health businesses. SJHS is also considering offerings from other Cardinal companies such as Cardinal Health Provider Pharmacy Services, Cardinal Health Consulting Services and Cardinal Health Information Companies. A key component of the agreement is Cardinal's commitment to help SJHS achieve greater efficiencies and control costs across the entire supply chain. Cardinal Health makes products for patient care; develops drug-delivery technologies; distributes pharmaceuticals, medical-surgical and laboratory supplies; and offers consulting and other services intended to improve quality and efficiency in health care.

Vista Medical Technologies (Carlsbad, California) and Jomed NV (Helsingborg, Sweden) said the development phase of their cooperative technology agreement has been implemented. Vista will develop an enhanced version of its Series 8000 Visualization and Information System designed for use as the standard visualization platform for the endoscopic placement of Jomed's SOLEM GraftConnector, and in other applications in cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology. The SOLEM GraftConnector, a minimally invasive anastamotic system, enabling fast, sutureless coronary artery bypass surgery on beating hearts, has recently begun human clinical trials in Europe. Jomed will fund development work related to the next-generation Series 8000, according to a jointly developed system specification. Vista makes products that the company said provide information to doctors performing minimally invasive general surgical, cardiac surgical and other selected microsurgical procedures. Jomed makes medical devices for minimally invasive therapy, including interventional cardiology and interventional radiology and other minimally invasive cardiovascular surgical procedures. Its product offerings include a range of coronary and peripheral stents, stent grafts, angioplasty balloons and catheters.