Oregon Lab Uses Sysmex Systems to Standardize Hematology Testing
Oregon Medical Laboratories (OML), the state’s largest reference laboratory, is renovating, expanding, and standardizing testing. Offering more than 1,000 different laboratory tests and performing nearly 7 million tests per year, OML plans to more than double its size by moving from Eugene to Springfield and taking over part of a former Sony disc-manufacturing building that was purchased by OML’s parent company, PeaceHealth.

At 70,000 square feet, the new laboratory is nearly twice the size of OML’s previous laboratory, allowing it to accommodate future growth well into the next decade. Renovation costs are estimated at $17 million. Of that amount, $2 million is being spent on new technology and another $2 million is being spent on a 3,100-foot pneumatic tube system to connect the laboratory, renamed the RiverBend Annex, to the new Sacred Heart Medical Center, scheduled to open in 2008.

The majority of OML’s 450 employees will be located at RiverBend and will provide outpatient, specialty, and reference testing services. A new 13-foot-long automated specimen-processing system, imported from Germany, will be deployed there—the first of its kind in the United States. It will allow OML to more than double its processing capacity as it centrifuges, decaps, aliquots, recaps, and archives. From this station, samples will be routed to a Sysmex high-throughput line that will feed two Sysmex hematology analyzers and another automated system to handle chemistry testing.

“We chose the Sysmex automated line because we were interested in improving efficiencies, particularly through the use of advanced robotics and specimen handling. We were impressed with Sysmex’s hands-free operation, from front-end specimen loading through final slide making and staining. The Sysmex line also offered expandability (such as, adding HgbA1c, sed rate, automated diffs) and the ability to bring consistency to all of OML’s laboratories,” says COO Greg Clark, PhD.

According to Clark, “Across five different testing sites, we have four very different testing requirements. Fortunately, we were able to purchase hematology equipment for each site that was perfectly suited for the very different types of testing required, from a single hematology vendor. It’s one of the reasons we chose to standardize all hematology testing with Sysmex instruments.”

The Sysmex systems will allow OML to use the same instrumentation across multiple sites. “We will be able to keep our reference ranges the same, and it will particularly benefit patients who have serial testing done, because it is really the same instrument giving the same results, regardless of location,” Clark says.

Contact: Oregon Medical Laboratories (800) 826-3616; www.omlabs.com

DiaSorin Receives Clearance for LIAISON Toxoplasma gondii Assays
DiaSorin Inc has received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its LIAISON® Toxoplasma gondii assays, including Toxoplasma IgG and Toxoplasma IgM. The company is continuing placements of its LIAISON random-access chemiluminescent analyzer in hospital and clinical reference laboratories nationwide.

 “We are pleased to expand our infectious-disease LIAISON menu to include the Toxoplasma gondii assays,” says Stephen P. Gouze, president and general manager of DiaSorin Inc. “In addition to the Epstein-Barr virus assays and Cytomegalovirus assays, the LIAISON now offers Toxoplasma gondii assays on an automated, random-access chemiluminescence platform, providing physicians with consistent and reliable results. Laboratories benefit from complete walkaway automation and the world-class assay reliability of the LIAISON system with a growing menu.” DiaSorin will continue to expand its infectious-disease testing menu on the LIAISON system over the next several years.

More than 1,200 LIAISON systems are in use worldwide with a menu of more than 50 diagnostic tests, including bone and mineral, infectious disease, autoimmune, and hepatitis assays. DiaSorin will add these and other assays in the United States as FDA clearance is received.

Contact: DiaSorin Inc (800) 328-1482; www.diasorin.com

ASCP Board of Registry and National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel Discuss Joining Forces
Representatives of the Board of Governors of the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Registry (ASCP BOR) met with representatives of the Board of Directors of the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) to discuss the possibility of forming a single certification agency.

ASCP BOR Chair Pat Ellinger, Vice Chair Cynthia Johns, and Executive Director E. Blair Holladay hosted NCA President Kathy Doig and Executive Director Sheila O’Neal at the ASCP BOR headquarters in Chicago last December. The representatives signed a letter of intent to explore the feasibility and desirability of joining their certification enterprises. Discussion focused on the structure and organizational values of each agency, and identifying areas of agreement and differences that will be explored further in future discussions. Continuing discussions are scheduled.

The ASCP Board of Registry and NCA invite members and others to comment on this proposal. Address your comments to [email protected], or visit the NCA Web site at www.nca-info.org.

Contact: American Society for Clinical Pathology (312) 738-1336; www.ascp.org

Warnex’s Supplier Resumes Manufacturing and Sale of PCR Thermal Cyclers
Warnex Inc has announced that it has been advised that Bio-Rad Laboratories and MJ Research have reached a settlement agreement with Applied Biosystems, an Applera Corporation business, which allows the companies to resume the manufacturing, selling, and servicing of PCR thermal cyclers in the United States. Currently, the Warnex™ Rapid Pathogen Detection System incorporates MJ Research PCR thermal cyclers in its platform for performing proprietary pathogen-detection tests.

Contact: Applied Biosystems (800) 327-3002; www.appliedbiosystems.com

PerkinElmer Announces Plans For Early Identification of Preeclampsia Risk
PerkinElmer Inc has secured the exclusive global rights to placental protein 13 (PP13), a new prospective biomarker for identifying patients at risk for preeclampsia. The biomedical marker was developed by Diagnostic Technologies Ltd, a developer of diagnostic kits and devices for monitoring pregnancies at risk.

PerkinElmer’s goal is to provide an early marker for preeclampsia that will accelerate the identification of potential treatments at the onset of the disease process and allow health care professionals to better manage high-risk pregnancies. Further testing of PP13 will determine whether it can detect the predisposition for preeclampsia to allow for such improved patient management.

Preeclampsia affects 5% to 7% of all pregnant women and represents a serious challenge for obstetricians and prenatal and diagnostic laboratories. The threatening disorder can result in: loss of life; blindness; motor and mental disorders in newborns; premature newborns; pregnancy hypertension; and kidney, liver, and cardiovascular malfunctioning. It is estimated that nearly $30 billion is spent today in health care costs to treat women with preeclampsia and their newborns.

“PerkinElmer is the market leader in prenatal risk assessment, and is committed to providing comprehensive maternal health solutions to protect at-risk women,” says Robert F. Friel, president of PerkinElmer life and analytical sciences. “This new partnership with Diagnostic Technologies holds the promise to provide early identification of patients at risk for preeclampsia and to facilitate the adoption of protective measures before complications develop.”

Unlike other potential markers, detectable only a few weeks before clinical symptoms appear, the new PP13 marker appears to be manifested earlier in the pregnancy. Preliminary research data shows that measuring PP13 in a blood sample during the routine prenatal testing in the first trimester might lead to as high as a 90% identification rate in women who are at risk. In addition, PP13 appears to identify patients at risk for both forms of the disorder, including restricted fetal-growth preeclampsia and normal fetal-growth preeclampsia.

“According to CDC National Birth Statistics, preeclampsia is the second most frequent cause of maternal death during pregnancy,” says Hamutal Meiri, MD, CEO of Diagnostic Technologies Ltd. “Our partnership with PerkinElmer will contribute to the effort to establish an important new marker for this disorder that could help raise the standard of care of maternal health during pregnancy.”

“At present, there is no proven effective method for the prevention of preeclampsia, but there is some evidence that the prophylactic use of low-dose aspirin, starting from the first trimester of pregnancy, could reduce the prevalence of the disease,” says Professor Kypros Nicolaides, director of the Fetal Medicine Foundation. “The preliminary data on PP13 is encouraging. It is now necessary to validate that data and undertake a large screening study by maternal serum PP13 and uterine artery Doppler, and randomize women in the high-risk group to determine if early intervention can truly reduce the prevalence of the disease.”

Contact: PerkinElmer Inc (781) 237-5100; www.perkinelmer.com

Devon Medical Supplies and Safe Medical Solutions to Co-Market Safety Products
Devon Medical Supplies has partnered with Safe Medical Solutions LLC to launch a nationwide co-marketing effort for cost-efficient medical-safety products.

“We are excited to launch a joint marketing effort with Safe Medical Solutions,” says Suzanne McCormick, director of operations for Devon Medical. “The combination of our products will provide the medical community with a cost-effective safety solution. Uniting our marketing efforts will increase visibility of this venture to distributors and health care professionals.”

The companies will market the NeedleZap®, a portable needle-destruction device distributed by Safe Medical Solutions, in conjunction with Devon Medical’s line of FDA-cleared assorted hypodermic and insulin syringes. The NeedleZap reduces the chance of needle-stick injuries and is compliant with Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requirements concerning blood-borne pathogens. The companies also plan to offer Devon Medical’s SafeTip™ syringe technology, which is currently under development and expected to undergo FDA review in the second quarter of 2006.

“Safe Medical Solutions is pleased to announce our strategic alliance with Devon Medical Supplies,” says William Schureck, president of Safe Medical Solutions, LLC. “Its sister company, Devon Health Services, has a solid national provider network that will help us leverage our marketing capabilities and achieve our mutual goal of creating a safer workplace environment for medical professionals.”

Contact: Devon Medical Supplies (800) 571-3135; www.devonmedicalsupplies.com

 TREK Awarded Novation Agreement
TREK Diagnostic Systems has signed an agreement with Novation for TREK to provide the VersaTREK® automated microbial detection system for blood culture, sterile body fluid, and mycobacteria testing. The 3-year agreement was effective March 1.

Under the terms of the contract, the 2,500 members of VHA Inc and University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) can choose from several different options to acquire VersaTREK instrumentation and related media products. Potential savings for Novation members can exceed 40%, and will depend on instrument requirements and method of acquisition.

“The VersaTREK instrument has established itself as a product that is unsurpassed in ease of use, performance, and reliability, while also providing flexible configurations to accommodate volume growth, all of which are key laboratory issues today,” says Tim Seekely, VP of Strategic Business Initiatives for TREK. “Customers find that we deliver a better-quantifiable product value, from organism recovery, acquisition, and improved supply-chain costs.”

Contact: TREK Diagnostic Systems (800) 871-8909; www.trekds.com

 Abbott Grants Bayer Rights to New Cancer and Transplantation Drug Tests
Bayer HealthCare’s diagnostics division has been granted licenses under key patent rights relating to free PSA (fPSA) and tacrolimus tests from Abbott Laboratories. Bayer intends to develop these two new tests for its ADVIA Centaur and ADVIA Centaur CP immunoassay systems immediately.

“By adding free PSA to the oncology portfolio, Bayer HealthCare Diagnostics will have a very comprehensive diagnostic menu for prostate cancer markers,” says Samir Taneja, MD, director of Urologic Oncology at NYU’s Cancer Institute and School of Medicine. The flexibility will allow physicians to select the tests they feel most appropriate to differentiate malignant and benign prostate disease within the individual patient.

“The addition of fPSA and tacrolimus to our assay offering will enhance the ability of laboratories to increase their test offering while optimizing their overall efficiency,” says Tom Warekois, senior VP of global strategic marketing at Bayer Diagnostics. “This is another example of Bayer HealthCare Diagnostics’ commitment to expanding the test offering for immunosuppression drugs. Tacrolimus is complementary to cyclosporine, which is currently also in development and scheduled to release in 2006.”

Contact: Bayer Diagnostics (914) 524-2712; www.bayerdiag.com

 HemoSense and HIDA Release Two Sales Tools
HemoSense Inc and the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) have released two Prothrombin Time (PT)/INR testing point-of-care sales tools for HIDA members and their distribution sales representatives.

PT/INR testing for anticoagulation therapy, a sales-meeting express tool, is a prepackaged sales-meeting resource that includes a professionally designed, ready-to-use PowerPoint presentation, group discussion topics, and slide specific talking points designed to help distribution managers lead succinct, productive sales meetings for representatives who sell PT/INR testing solutions, such as HemoSense’s INRatio® system.

The second resource is a customer-selling tool, “Point-of-Care PT/INR Testing: Improving Therapy and Advancing Patient Care.” This simple, one-page handout is designed to educate customers about the benefits of performing PT/INR testing at the point of care, as well as to serve as a refresher for HIDA member sales representatives.

“These tools put actionable information about the benefits of point-of-care PT/INR testing in the hands of our distribution partners,” says Timothy Still, executive vice president of sales and marketing at HemoSense. “We hope the utilization of these resources will not only increase sales of INRatio, but equip our distribution partners to better serve and educate their customers.”

Rhonda Claytor, HIDA’s director of education and training adds, “Our goal is to empower sales managers to coach and train their teams. They will use the sales-meeting express tool to educate and build the confidence of their internal sales team, then use the customer-selling tool with customers to enhance the sales dialogue.”

HIDA members have free access to the PT/INR sales meeting express and customer-selling tools at www.hida.org, where they can download a sales meeting express presentation and request hard copies of the presentation, talking points, and customer-selling tool handouts. Sales professionals who maintain the Accredited in Medical Sales (AMS) designation can earn .5 AMS points for attending a sales meeting express presentation.

Contact: HemoSense Inc (877) 436-6444; www.hemosense.com

 ISO Approves Photometry for Liquid Volume Measurement
ARTEL has announced that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved the use of the photometric method for liquid-delivery performance verification. This method uses light absorption to verify volume accuracy, and is readily implemented for low-volume measurement and high-throughput screening applications. The gravimetric method, which uses a balance to measure liquid volume, is difficult to implement at the low volumes typical of drug-discovery applications, and is impossible to implement for high-throughput liquid handlers. Because the photometric method can be adopted into laboratory practices easily and cost-efficiently, its use can improve quality-assurance procedures and speed drug development.

“Regularly ensuring the performance of liquid-handling instrumentation, whether manual or automated, is critical in life-science laboratories. Even slight volumetric discrepancies can compromise results, leading to higher costs associated with remedial actions and useless data,” notes George Rodrigues, PhD, senior scientific manager at ARTEL. “As calibration technology advances, so too must regulatory standards. ISO recognizes the importance of photometry for drug-discovery applications, in which liquid-delivery performance must be verified at extremely low volumes.”

Regarding photometry, ISO 8655-7 states, “uncertainty with this [photometric] method tends to become lower as test volumes decrease.” This makes photometry “particularly well suited for small volumes,” a quality guideline that reflects both the advancing science of calibration methodology and life-science-industry trends. With increasing reagent costs and a growing focus on the quality and content of high-throughput screening results, pharmaceutical and clinical laboratories are handling smaller volumes of high-value liquids, with an ever-increasing need to ensure accuracy and precision.

“Laboratories can reduce risk by implementing a proven and internationally accepted quality-assurance technology that is applicable across the globe,” says Richard Curtis, PhD, chairman and technical director at ARTEL. “This facilitates method transfer across departments and laboratories.” Integrating an accepted calibration method is also important for laboratories striving to conform to cGMP/cGLP criteria and to ISO 17025, the international laboratory quality standard.

The ISO decision places a global stamp of approval on ARTEL’s patented ratiometric photometric method for calibration, which is in full compliance with the new standard. ARTEL uses a dual-dye approach to photometry, employing two proprietary solutions to combat accuracy problems typically associated with low-volume measurement verification. This ultrasensitive ARTEL technology provides unequaled accuracy and precision at low volumes, yielding results traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with an uncertainty of less than 1% for volumes as low as 0.1 µL.

Contact: ARTEL (888) 406-3463; www.artel-usa.com

 Ocean Optics Spectrometer Used to Detect Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker
Researchers in the departments of chemistry and neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill) have used a nanosensor to examine the behavior of molecules that may be involved with Alzheimer’s disease. The nanosensor, which incorporates an Ocean Optics UV/VIS spectrometer, has provided new information relevant to the understanding and possible diagnosis of the disease.

Presently, there is no definite clinical diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease, but amyloid-derived diffusible ligands (ADDLs), a miniscule toxic protein suspected of triggering the disease, is present at levels up to 70 times greater in autopsied brain samples from humans with Alzheimer’s disease than in humans without the disease. A sensitive method of detecting ADDLs in body fluid could, therefore, provide a basis for the laboratory diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

The nanosensor developed for ADDLs is based on tiny, triangular silver particles that absorb and scatter light. The extinction spectrum (sum of adsorbed and scattered light) of the nanoparticles varies as the environment surrounding the nanoparticles change. To control this change, the nanoparticles’ surfaces are modified with a layer of ADDL-specific antibodies. These antibodies bind specifically to any ADDL molecules found in the samples studied. When this happens, the spectral properties of the silver nanoparticles shift slightly.

Using this technique, the researchers were able to detect ADDL levels that were elevated in diseased patient samples in comparison to control patient samples. The researchers detected these color shifts using an Ocean Optics S2000 fiber optically coupled spectrometer. The research has shown that the potential of nanoscale optical biosensors are far reaching and will aid in the development of other successful nanotechnology-based devices.

Contact: Ocean Optics: (727) 733-2447; www.oceanoptics.com

Tm Bioscience to Supply Reagents to Montreal Children’s Hospital
Tm Bioscience Corp has signed an agreement to supply the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre with Tag-It™ reagents for use in its cystic fibrosis testing program.

“Our laboratory has been facing growing demand for cystic fibrosis screening over the past few years. The Tm platform will allow us to address this demand with an accurate and rapid assay,” says Patrick Scott, MD, director of the molecular genetics laboratory at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“We are delighted that the Montreal Children’s Hospital has selected our Tag-It technology, marking an expansion of our commercial footprint within the Canadian market,” says Greg Hines, president and CEO of Tm Bioscience.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Scott and to taking our Tag-It Cystic Fibrosis Kit through the IVDD approval process at Health Canada.”

Contact: Tm Bioscience Corp (416) 593-4323; www.tmbioscience.com

 Nikon Unveils Web Portal For Confocal Microscopy
Nikon Instruments Inc has unveiled a new Web portal designed to teach users of confocal microscopy about Nikon products and advanced confocal techniques. The Nikon confocal Web portal (www.nikonconfocal.com) offers new and experienced users a primer on confocal microscopy and highlights commonly used and advanced confocal techniques. The site contains detailed product guides to help users choose the right equipment for a particular application. It also provides links to instructional pages and interactive tutorials within Nikon’s Microscopy U Web site.

Nikon’s confocal site identifies spectral separation, sensitivity, and acquisition time as the most common challenges users face when working in confocal microscopy, and presents solutions to these issues based on Nikon’s extensive research, testing, and product designs.

“Unprecedented advancements in science and technology have led to an increased demand for more sophisticated and powerful microscopy products,” says Eric Flem, communications director of Nikon Instruments. “The confocal microscope is one of the most valuable tools in biomedical research. Our new Web portal provides researchers with new resources to unlock the potential of this tool.”

Contact: Nikon Instruments Inc (631) 547-8500; www.nikonusa.com

Aspyra Inc Attains Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Status
Aspyra Inc has reached the gold certified level of Microsoft’s partner program. As a Microsoft certified partner, Aspyra has attained the highest level within the program by earning the ISV/software solutions competency for its picture archive communications system (PACS) product, AccessNET, and networking infrastructure solutions competency.

The company earned the certified competencies by having its AccessNET software independently tested to perform on the Windows® XP and 2003 servers, employing Microsoft-certified professionals, and obtaining a sufficient number of customer references. AccessNET PACS is in use in hospitals, clinics, and imaging centers worldwide.

“As a gold certified partner, Aspyra has access to tools and other opportunities that allow us to further advance our products, customer satisfaction, and business resources,” says Scott Treiber, director of product development for Aspyra’s Diagnostic Solutions Group.

Contact: Aspyra Inc (818) 880-8700; www.aspyra.com

Nanogen Acquires Point-of-Care Cardiac Diagnostic Test Business
Nanogen Inc has completed the acquisition of the rapid cardiac immunoassay test business from Spectral Diagnostics. The deal expands Nanogen’s portfolio of complementary diagnostics to include Spectral’s Cardiac STATus® and Decision Point™product lines, the i-Lynx™ reader, related intellectual property and manufacturing capabilities. Nanogen now has a fully integrated point-of-care group with resources and capabilities in research, product development, manufacturing, and sales and marketing, with a worldwide distribution network to compete in the $1.5 billion worldwide point-of-care market. The total consideration for the transaction was CDN$9 million: CDN$5.65 million in cash and CDN$3.35 million in Nanogen common shares.

“This acquisition provides Nanogen a solid position in the cardiovascular point-of-care market in advance of our congestive heart failure test receiving regulatory clearance,” says Howard C. Birndorf, chairman and CEO of Nanogen. “It was another opportunity to broaden our portfolio of rapid diagnostic tests, without research and development risk, and with opportunities to increase both the menu of products and existing customer base. We anticipate a smooth and rapid integration of Spectral’s sales and manufacturing functions and a positive contribution to our near-term financial results and long-term market plans.”

Spectral reported nearly CDN$7 million in product revenues during 2005 from the Cardiac STATus tests and i-Lynx readers. The Cardiac STATus line includes four FDA-cleared tests that can be used at the point of care to determine elevations of cardiac markers.

The i-Lynx is a unique handheld reader designed to capture and analyze the results of the Cardiac STATus products as well as other rapid tests, such as tests for cardiovascular disease, pregnancy, and infectious diseases. The portable electronic unit offers connectivity to customers’ existing laboratory data-management systems to help facilitate patient record keeping and billing functions.

The DecisionPoint product line is the same series of cardiac marker assays as the STATus line designed for international markets, with CE marking. The newly acquired rapid test business also includes the capability to offer private-label brands to customers. Several distributors offer the DecisionPoint products outside of the United States. Cardinal Health distributes the Cardiac STATus line and i-Lynx reader in the United States.

Approximately 50 of Spectral’s employees, including those in manufacturing as well as a US and Canadian sales force, have joined Nanogen’s point-of-care group in Toronto.

Contact: Nanogen (877) 626-6436; www.nanogen.com

New Assay for Diagnostic Testing of Bird Flu
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced clearance of the Influenza A/H5 (Asian Lineage) Virus Real-Time Reverse Transcription—Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Primer and Probe Set and inactivated virus as a source of positive RNA control for the in vitro qualitative detection of highly pathogenic influenza A/H5 virus (Asian lineage). Two genetic lineages of influenza A/H5 viruses exist: Eurasian (Asian) and North American. The primer and probe set, developed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is designed to detect highly pathogenic influenza A/H5 viruses from the Asian lineage associated with recent laboratory-confirmed infections of avian influenza in humans in east Asia and, most recently, in Turkey and Iraq.

From December 1, 2003, through February 3, 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 161 confirmed human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1); of these, 86 (53%) were fatal. The infections occurred in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam. No avian influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) infections have been reported in animals or humans in North America. Since February 2004, the CDC has recommended enhanced surveillance in the United States for possible cases of human infection with avian influenza A (H5N1) virus. Consistent with these interim recommendations, testing for this virus is indicated when a patient has symptoms of severe respiratory illness and a risk for exposure (that is, direct contact with ill, dead, or infected poultry in a country with outbreaks of influenza H5N1 among poultry). The FDA says that testing for influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) should be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with local or state health departments.

The agency recommends that testing with the FDA-cleared laboratory RT-PCR assay should be conducted in conjunction with other laboratory testing and clinical observations to help diagnose influenza in patients who might be infected with influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) viruses and to provide epidemiologic information for surveillance purposes. The test is also expected to help identify influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) viruses in laboratory viral cultures. Definitive diagnosis of influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage), either directly from patient specimens or from viral culture, might require additional laboratory testing and clinical and epidemiologic assessment in consultation with national influenza surveillance experts. The FDA states that negative results do not preclude influenza virus infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or other patient-management decisions.

According to the agency, testing with the new assay will be limited to laboratories designated by the Laboratory Response Network (LRN), which includes approximately 140 US laboratories in 50 states. LRN-designated laboratories ensure that the laboratory employs experienced personnel who are trained in standardized rapid molecular procedures, perform analyses in facilities with appropriate biosafety equipment and containment procedures, and use established means for communication with public-health programs. The real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set is the only laboratory method that has been cleared by the FDA for avian influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) testing and in vitro diagnostic medical device use in the United States. For more information, visit the FDA’s Web site (www.fda.gov).

Contact: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (800) CDC-INFO; www.cdc.gov

 Labtronics Provides Transparent LIMS Integration For Hanson’s Dissolution Data System
Labtronics Inc has released an enhancement to its Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) integration solution, LimsLink, which provides embedded LIMS integration for Hanson Research’s Bill Dissolution Data System (DDS)™.

Bill DDS allows users of Hanson’s dissolution-testing instruments to centrally control and prep dissolution testing and gathers resulting data directly from the instruments for easy reporting. Developed in an exclusive partnership between Hanson Research and Labtronics, Bill DDS creates a seamless digital link between Hanson’s world-class dissolution-testing instruments and Labtronics‚ LimsLink, the industry’s leading LIMS integration solution.

By supporting embedded integration for Bill DDS, LimsLink makes connecting the dissolution system with any LIMS transparent to the users. Users will interact with a few new menu items from within the Bill DDS client, eliminating the need to access an additional application. It allows the user to create sequences from sample information contained within a LIMS, and then uploads those sequences filelessly to Bill DDS. Once the testing is completed, LimsLink will automatically report the results to LIMS.

Using LimsLink to connect Bill DDS to any LIMS eliminates manual transcription processes. This improves the productivity of the lab and prevents errors inherent in manual processes, ensuring data integrity and regulatory compliance. It also speeds up the reporting process, since results are sent immediately to LIMS, allowing for faster analysis of test results.

“We are very pleased that Labtronics continues to provide specific enhancements to LimsLink, improving support for Bill DDS,” says Roy Hanson, CEO of Hanson Research Corporation. “Allowing customers to access LIMS directly from the Bill DDS client significantly increases the value of the solution to our customers.”

“Labtronics and Hanson Research have forged a very strong partnership,” says Robert Pavlis, president of Labtronics Inc. “Many of our customers utilize Hanson’s dissolution testing equipment and are now adopting the Bill DDS system. We want to ensure that LimsLink provides them with the most advanced and secure LIMS integration solution for their dissolution data.”

Contact: Labtronics Inc (519) 767-1061; www.labtronics.com

MedAssets to Offer Olympus Automated and Manual Blood Bank Products to Customers
MedAssets Supply Chain Systems will offer the TANGO® Automated Blood Bank System and manual blood-bank reagents from Olympus America Inc to its network of IDNs and individual hospitals nationwide. TANGO and its reagents provide an easy-to-use, cost-efficient, and reliable alternative for blood-group serology testing in the hospital transfusion service. Although TANGO has been in use in Europe for some time, MedAssets is the first health care group purchasing organization and supply-chain-management company in the United States to adopt the system. The TANGO system is manufactured by Biotest AG of Germany.

“We are pleased to offer these clinical laboratory products on contract to our customers,” says Mark Miriani, senior vice president of supply-chain contracting services for MedAssets Supply Chain Systems. “The products in this category offer a welcome choice for our hospital customers where choice has been limited. We have had great success with Olympus in our other divisions and look forward to additional products they will provide as the category matures.”

For customers of MedAssets, special incentive plans for early purchasers have been put into place. “We are delighted that MedAssets has chosen us as a partner in this area,” says Candace Williams, director of immunohematology systems at Olympus Diagnostic Systems Group. “Now that TANGO is available in the United States and Canada, hospitals have a proven, cost-efficient, and easy-to-use alternative for their immunohematology needs. Transfusion services are among the most important and high-pressure areas of medical care. Our early feedback is that hospitals are eager to welcome Olympus and TANGO as a new partner in this very important area of health care service.”

Contact: Olympics Diagnostic Systems Group (800) 223-0125; www.olympusamerica.com/diagnostics