Axis-Shield (Dundee, Scotland) has signed a deal with Bayer Diagnostics (Munich, Germany) to place two of its cardiac tests, for homocysteine and Activated Factor XII (AFT), onto two of Bayer's analyzers. The two Axis-Shield assays will be added to the cardiac menu on the Advia Centaur and the ACS-180 analyzers. The Centaur menu currently includes CK-MB, troponin I, and myoglobin. Bayer said it also plans to use Shield's AFT test in clinical trials as a parameter to monitor the efficacy of a new generation of statin drugs for lipid lowering.

Data Critical (Bothell, Washington) and Cardiac Science (Irvine, California) have signed a strategic development, integration, and distribution agreement. Data Critical will provide Cardiac Science with wireless alarm notification technology for its fully automatic external cardiac defibrillator devices on an exclusive basis. Cardiac Science will integrate Data Critical's AlarmView wireless alarm notification system into its first commercial product – the Powerheart hospital bedside defibrillator-monitor. The AlarmView system features a hand-held receiver that gives nurses remote access to alarm data. Within approximately 10 seconds of a patient event, AlarmView pages the caregiver and provides patient location and alarm information. Data Critical uses compression technology to acquire patient data from devices such as Powerheart, convert it into wireless data, and send it directly to nurses anywhere in the hospital. Data Critical uses wireless Internet technology and software providing access to health information and diagnostic data. Cardiac Science makes defibrillator devices and tachyarrhythmia detection software.

CardioTech International (Woburn, Massachusetts) has appointed distributors in Greece and Turkey for its VascuLink Vascular Access Graft. The graft uses the company's polyurethane polymer and manufacturing process "to address the shortcomings of currently available vascular access grafts," CardioTech said. Alan Edwards, managing director, said that the selection of the distributors – Medical Horizons in Greece and Star Medical in Turkey – "bridges the gap between our European and Middle East marketing activities. These are rapidly growing markets with established insurance health care systems."

InnerDyne (Sunnyvale, California) has signed an agreement granting Maxxim Medical (Clearwater, Florida) exclusive U.S. and South American sales and distribution rights to InnerDyne's Innervasc product for percutaneous vascular access in the fields of cardiology, radiology, neuroradiology, and critical care. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed; it takes effect when InnerDyne receives FDA 510(k) marketing for a revised product design submitted in August 1999. Maxxim Medical makes products for use in acute and alternate care settings. InnerDyne makes minimally invasive surgical access products incorporating its radial dilation technology.

Kaiser Permanente (San Francisco, California) said an agreement has been reached with Summit Medical Center, Sutter Health East Bay, and Sutter Health to expand Kaiser's cardiac program into the East Bay. Kaiser will perform a large number of heart operations and cardiac procedures at Summit Medical Center (Oakland, California), and Summit will enhance its facilities and add staff to accommodate the increased patient volume. Kaiser will continue to operate its cardiac program out of its San Francisco medical center. Permanente physicians who are based at Kaiser's San Francisco and Oakland medical centers will provide and oversee care for Kaiser Permanente members who receive care at Summit Medical Center. Kaiser Permanente, California, is a prepaid, group practice health maintenance organization serving more than 5.9 million members throughout the state. Summit Medical Center and Alta Bates Medical Center merged under Sutter Health in 1999. Together they offer over 1,000 beds as acute care not-for-profit community hospitals, with facilities in Berkeley and Oakland.

SYN X Pharma (Toronto, Canada) and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Research Corp. (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) have signed a research agreement for development of the SYN X point-of-care (POC) diagnostic for congestive heart failure. SYN X will work with Adolfo de Bold, MD, director of the cardiovascular endocrinology laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and discoverer of protein markers for congestive heart failure. The markers, polypeptide hormones called Atrial Natriuretic Factor (ANF) and B-type Natriuretic Peptide are key to the development of a hand-held diagnostic test to identify heart failure. The device will be the second rapid-format POC test to be developed by SYN X. Its first diagnostic, the Strokepanel for brain attack, was licensed last year by Genzyme Diagnostics (Cambridge, Massachusetts) for worldwide manufacture and distribution. The University of Ottawa Heart Institute specializes in cardiac health care and focuses on the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of heart disease.

U.S. Surgical (Norwalk, Connecticut), a unit of Tyco International (Hamilton, Bermuda), has signed a five-year agreement with Heartport (Redwood City, California) granting U.S. Surgical exclusive worldwide distribution rights, excluding Japan, to Heartport's Precision-OP minimally invasive, beating-heart surgery system. The number of CABG procedures performed minimally invasively is projected to grow from about 16% to more than 35% over the next three years.

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