Abiomed (Danvers, Massachusetts) has reached a collaborative agreement with the Rabin Medical Center (Petach-Tikva, Israel), with the objective of demonstrating device and team readiness of Abiomed's AbioCor Implantable Replacement Heart in preparation for human trials. The Rabin Medical Center is the first heart cardiac surgery center outside the U.S. to begin device and team readiness training for initial human trials with the battery-powered AbioCor Heart.

AmeriNet and Mallinckrodt (both St. Louis, Missouri) implemented a new three-year agreement to include Mallinckrodt products in the Phase II rollout of AmeriNet's Clinical Services Program (CSP). The agreement became effective March 1. CSP is a disease state management program focusing on the care of cardiovascular patients. CSP will provide contracts for seven hospital departments responsible for the majority of care to cardiac patients. About one-third of the 1,000 cardiac care institutions in the U.S. are affiliated with AmeriNet, making potential purchasing volume in the range of $2.5 billion each year.

Amrad (Victoria, Australia) and DevCo Pharmaceuticals (Guilford, UK) agreed to license an early-stage pharmaceutical project that has potential as a treatment of stroke. The agreement involves the development of Amrad's AM36, a compound with combined antioxidant and neuronal sodium channel-blocking actions.

AngioDynamics (Queensbury, New York) a wholly owned subsidiary of E-Z-EM, has entered into a distribution agreement with HDC Corp. (San Jose, California), a maker of vascular access products. The HDC vascular access product line consists of implanted medication ports, central venous catheters, and peripherally inserted central catheters.

Angiotech Pharmaceuticals (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) received a $1.23 million milestone payment from Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts). The payment was triggered by Boston Scientific's filing to start clinical trials of a paclitaxel-coated coronary stent for treating restenosis associated with stent implantation.

AVI BioPharma (Portland, Oregon) will collaborate with InterVentional Technologies (IVT; San Diego, California) for clinical trials of Resten-NG, AVI's gene-targeted drug for cardiovascular restenosis. IVT will supply its Infiltrator intramural delivery catheters for the upcoming Phase II trials at Lenox Hill Hospital (New York), and AVI will use this catheter in its Resten-NG development program. Resten-NG will be delivered into the coronary arteries of patients undergoing balloon angioplasty.

Myogen (Denver, Colorado) formed a key alliance with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, Texas) involving a patent and technology license agreement. The alliance establishes collaborative research programs targeting the development of therapeutics for heart failure. With the agreement, Myogen receives exclusive rights to a collection of discoveries, patents and future inventions related to heart muscle disease.

Oxigene (Stockholm, Sweden, and Boston, Massachusetts) and Techniclone (Tustin, California) have signed a letter of intent to jointly develop and commercialize Techniclone's Vascular Targeting Agent (VTA) technology. Oxigene will make available to the project access to its tubulin-binding compounds for use in combination with the VTA technology. The joint venture arrangement will include an up-front licensing fee and milestone payment to Techniclone by Oxigene, as well as Oxigene's substantial funding of development expenses related to commercializing a VTA product. The two companies will share royalties and certain fees generated by the joint venture.

Possis Medical (Minneapolis, Minnesota) has signed AngioJet Rheolytic Thrombectomy System contracts with the AmeriNet group purchasing organization, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) National Acquisition Center. The AmeriNet contract covers the entire cardiovascular product line of Possis Medical. The contract, effective March 1, runs for three years. The DVA contract, effective January 1, runs through 2004.

Protocol Systems (Beaverton, Oregon) and Masimo (Irvine, California) have signed a purchasing and licensing agreement under which Protocol will integrate Masimo's Signal Extraction Technology for pulse oximetry into its Micropaq ambulatory patient monitor. Micropaq combines a patient-worn telemetry monitor with the display, alarms and parameters of a portable stand-alone vital signs monitor.

Sangamo BioSciences (Point Richmond, California) expanded its alliance with Baxter Healthcare (Deerfield, Illinois) giving Baxter the option to acquire a three-year right of first refusal to Sangamo's future zinc finger DNA binding proteins therapeutic product candidates for cardiovascular diseases. Baxter paid Sangamo $7.5 million for the option. In January, the companies agreed to a $40 million alliance to work on therapeutics for ischemic cardiovascular and peripheral vascular diseases.

Theragenics (Buford, Georgia) signed an agreement with the Atlanta Cardiovascular Research Institute (Atlanta, Georgia) for a two-phase animal study addressing the use of palladium 103 (Pd-103) for the prevention of restenosis. In the first phase, scheduled to begin this month, Theragenics will deliver catheter-based Pd-103 devices to determine if they can inhibit restenosis-like changes in pig coronary arteries following balloon angioplasty and stent implantation. In the second phase, Theragenics will deliver stent-based Pd-103 devices.

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