Akorn (Buffalo Grove, Illinois) has entered into a worldwide exclusive cross-licensing and marketing agreement with NovaDAQ Technologies, a Canadian spin-off company from the Institute for Biodiagnostics (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), the National Research Council of Canada cardiovascular branch. The agreement covers the diagnostic use during coronary artery bypass graft surgery of Akorn's contrast imaging agent and NovaDAQ's Digital Laser Imaging System NovaDAQ is anticipating filing a 510(k)-device submission with the FDA in early 2001. According to Akorn, there is no product approved for use in the U.S. that would directly compete with the combined technologies at an equivalent cost. The financial terms of the agreement involve certain initial payments by Akorn and a profit-sharing structure between the parties for the effective commercial life of the products.

GE Marquette Medical Systems (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and CardioDynamics (San Diego, California) have signed an agreement to jointly develop and integrate CardioDynamics' BioZ Impedance Cardiography (ICG) technology into GE Marquette's Solar patient monitoring systems. The agreement expands a current partnership, which provides GE Marquette with exclusive rights to market and sell BioZ products to hospitals in the U.S. and select international markets. The companies say the collaboration will allow them to combine research and development resources to accelerate development of ICG technologies. The BioZ ICG module is expected to be available in Solar patient monitoring systems in the first half of 2001. GE Marquette Medical, a GE Medical Systems company, makes cardiology, patient monitoring and health care information management systems. CardioDynamics is a medical technology and information solutions company.

Merit Medical Systems (South Jordan, Utah) has completed an exclusive, four-year U.S. distribution agreement with Derma Sciences (Princeton, New Jersey) to distribute three catheter fastening devices – the Percu Stay, Pleura Stay, and Epi Stay – used to maintain catheter placement in patients for extended periods, primarily for fluid drainage. Merit makes disposable medical products used in interventional and diagnostic procedures, particularly in cardiology and radiology. Derma Sciences makes advanced wound and skin care products.

Micro Therapeutics (MTI; Irvine, California) has entered into an amended distribution agreement with Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Illinois) in which MTI's direct sales force will have responsibility for marketing and sale of its peripheral blood clot therapy products in the U.S. and Canada, with MTI receiving a greater portion of the profit from end-user sales than in their original agreement. Abbott will retain responsibility for distribution and customer service functions. MTI and Abbott entered into the original distribution agreement in August 1998, with Abbott receiving U.S. and Canadian marketing and distribution rights to MTI's existing and future peripheral vascular blood clot therapy products. These include infusion catheters, infusion guidewires, peripheral micro catheters, mechanical thrombolytic devices and accessory kits.

MicroMed Technology (Houston, Texas) and Chrysalis Vascular Technologies, a subsidiary of Chrysalis BioTechnology (Galveston, Texas), have signed a 12-month agreement to evaluate the effectiveness of the synthetic compound Chrysalin to promote regeneration for blood vessels in the heart. Chrysalin may provide a new treatment as a combination therapy with the MicroMed DeBakey VAD or as a stand-alone treatment in earlier-stage heart failure patients. Chrysalin is a synthetically manufactured peptide that mimics the effects of thrombin. It is currently in Phase II clinical trials for chronic diabetic ulcers and the company has partnered with Abbott Laboratories for this and other wound healing indications. The MicroMed DeBakey VAD was recently approved for use as an investigational device (see Cardiovascular Device Update, July 2000).

Terumo Cardiovascular Systems (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and Fresenius HemoCare GmbH have signed a distributor and license agreement appointing Terumo the exclusive distributor for the Fresenius C.A.T.S systems in the U.S. Terumo makes CAPIOX, Sarns and CDI brand products used in cardiac surgery in the U.S. and other global markets. The Fresenius C.A.T.S system is used primarily in cardiac surgery, as well as orthopedic surgery and trauma centers.

Vista Medical Technologies (Carlsbad, California) and Jomed (Helsingborg, Sweden) signed an exclusive distribution agreement and a cooperative technology agreement relating to Vista Medical's Series 8000 3-D Visualization and Information System. Jomed will be the worldwide exclusive distributor of the Series 8000 in cardiac and related radiological markets. The companies will cooperate on developing enhancements for the Series 8000 to enhance its 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. Vista Medical makes products providing information for performing minimally invasive general surgical, heart, head, neck and spine, 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.

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