AmeriNet (St. Louis, Missouri) a membership-based health care group purchasing organization, has signed a three-year agreement with Mobile P.E.T. Systems (San Diego, California), a medical service provider of positron emission tomography imaging services to hospitals and health care. The contract will enable AmeriNet members to have access on a shared basis to an early detection diagnostic imaging procedure for cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders.

Bio-Plexus (Vernon, Connecticut) and Managed Health Care Associates (MHA; Florham Park, New Jersey) have signed a new purchasing contract for Punctur-Guard blood collection needles manufactured by Bio-Plexus. MHA is a group purchasing organization to the long-term care industry.

C. R. Bard (Murray Hill, New Jersey) has entered into an exclusive agreement with Olympus Japan (Tokyo) for the Japanese distribution of Bard's disposable gastrointestinal and endoscopic accessories for gastroenterological procedures. The Bard products will be available immediately through Olympus Japan, a subsidiary of Olympus Optical Co., and will be manufactured by Bard's Interventional Products division (Billerica, Massachusetts). Bard's disposable GI and endoscopic product lines covered by this agreement include biopsy forceps, polypectomy snares, ligators, GI metal stents and a variety of other endoscopic products used in the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders.

LightLab Imaging (Westford, Massachusetts) and Asahi Optical (Japan) have formed a product development alliance with the goal of providing gastroenterologists with a new class of high-resolution endoscopic imaging technology using optical coherence tomography (OCT). Asahi gains access to LightLab's intellectual property and proprietary optical probe technology for endoscopic OCTs. The companies plan to co-develop intraluminal OCT systems for gastrointestinal and pulmonary applications. LightLab will receive development funding and milestone payments of undisclosed amounts.

Medi-Hut (Lakewood, New Jersey), maker of a passive anti-stick safety syringe, has entered into a joint venture agreement with COA International Industries (Seoul, South Korea) in which Medi-Hut will acquire a 44% ownership of a new syringe production facility in Korea, separate from the Sam Woo facility. Through ownership of the production and distribution systems, Medi-Hut said it will be able to reduce the cost of safety syringe production. The new facility also will significantly increase production levels of both COA's disposable syringe and Medi-Hut's Elite Safety Syringe.

Qiagen (Venlo, the Netherlands) and Luminex (Austin, Texas) have entered into a strategic alliance to develop a broad range of consumable kits and assays for basic research and drug discovery applications based on Luminex's LabMAP technology. Qiagen will distribute these new assay detection products which it says will complement its product line of nucleic acid consumable kits and assays for the research and biopharmaceutical community, especially in the field of genomics-driven assay development and drug discovery. Qiagen intends to launch its first line of reagents and assay kits based on the Luminex technology in 3Q01. Luminex has received an up-front payment and will receive future royalty payments based on the sale of kits and reagents. Qiagen and Luminex also said it intends to enter into an arrangement to integrate Luminex detection and analysis technology with Qiagen's line of bio-robotic liquid-handling instrumentation. Luminex will provide its LabMAP detection and analysis system, and Qiagen will develop, market and distribute the integrated systems.

Medrad (Indianola, Pennsylvania) has been selected by NeoRad AS (Oslo, Norway) to be the exclusive worldwide distributor of SimpliCT, a laser guidance system that the company says significantly improves the accuracy of computed tomography (CT)-guided puncture procedures. The multi-year agreement is Medrad's first venture into interventional guidance. SimpliCT is designed to provide greater accuracy in CT interventional procedures. Entry angles from the CT scan are input into the unit, which emits a correspondingly angled laser beam from a mechanical arm suspended above or beside the body. Financial terms of the distribution agreement were not disclosed.

Packard BioScience (Meriden, Connecticut) and Hitachi Genetic Systems, through its MiraiBio (Alameda, California) subsidiary, have agreed to co-market their storage phosphor and fluorescence imaging systems for use in molecular biology research. MiraiBio offers products for bioimaging, microarray, bioinformatics and spectroscopy. Packard BioScience is a maker of instruments and related consumables and services for use in life sciences research and environmental industries.

Theragenics (Buford, Georgia) has signed a five-year, nonexclusive agreement with Prostate Services of America (PSA; Singer Island, Florida) for the distribution of TheraSeed. PSA will be permitted to distribute TheraSeed immediately in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico for the treatment of prostate cancer and other solid localized cancerous tumors. Theragenics is the maker of TheraSeed, a rice-sized device used in the treatment of localized prostate cancer with a one-time, minimally invasive procedure. PSA is a supplier of solutions for prostate brachytherapy, including all the necessary equipment, radioactive sources and related services.