November's top stories: Medtronic-Covidien $42.9bn deal, Roche’s $467m plant

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approves Medtronic's proposed acquisition of Ireland's Covidien.


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US FTC clears Medtronic's acquisition of Covidien

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved global medical technology firm Medtronic's proposed acquisition of Irish medical products manufacturer Covidien.

As part of the deal, Medtronic agreed to divest the drug-coated balloon catheter business of Covidien, in order to settle FTC concerns concerning anticompetitive potential of the $42.9bn acquisition of Covidien.

The FTC's proposed settlement will allow Medtronic to sell the drug-coated balloon catheter business to US-based medical device firm Spectranetics.

Roche to build $467m Chinese diagnostic manufacturing plant

Swiss global healthcare firm Roche decided to invest CHF450m ($467m) in developing a new diagnostic manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China.

The investment will be made in the next three years to build the facility, which is expected to meet the growing demand for diagnostic tests in China and the Asia Pacific region.

A new Chinese facility will concentrate on producing immunochemistry and clinical chemistry tests, as well as products crucial to clinical laboratory testing.

Medidata and GSK to test mHealth devices for clinical trial optimisation

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US-based Medidata completed a method development project carried out in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to evaluate the impact of unifying mobile health (mHealth) devices with cloud-based technologies in a clinical trial setting.

Conducted at GSK's Human Performance Lab, the joint project evaluated the capabilities of mHealth tools and how they could be used to enable a new model for clinical trial conduct that aligns site and patient needs with faster study execution and reduced costs.

The project showed mHealth technologies can comprehensively collect large volumes of objective data that is reliable, secure and ready for analysis, providing real-time, continuous insight into patients' well being.

WellDoc and Samsung partner to develop new diabetes devices

US-based digital health care behavioural science and technology firm WellDoc entered into a multi-stage collaboration with Samsung Electronics to help improve the lives of people with type 2 diabetes, and discover next-generation diabetes devices and product offerings.

The two parties intend to use technology to empower patient self-management and provide clinical decision-making.

Both firms commercialised unique and powerful health care platforms, which when combined, can deliver unparalleled support to patients with diabetes.

22,000 UK dental patients recalled for tests over blood-borne virus fears

An estimated 22,000 dental patients in England were recalled for tests over fears that they could have been infected with blood-borne viruses including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, following apparent breaches of infection control procedures.

According to NHS England, patients may have been put at risk after being treated by dentist Desmond D'Mello who did not follow proper procedures over a 32-year period at the former Daybrook Dental Practice in Gedling, Nottinghamshire.

NHS England is working with Public Health England to investigate the issue and make necessary arrangements for a patient recall.

Stratasys partners with Worrell for new 3D printed medical devices

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US-based 3D printers and production systems manufacturer Stratasys entered into partnership with design and product development firm Worrell to expand medical device development through the deployment of 3D printed injection moulding (3D IM).

Compared with traditional aluminium moulds, Stratasys claims it is producing injection moulded prototypes using final production materials in less time and at reduced cost.

The company said medical device manufacturers have two main obstacles to get medical devices to market including tooling costs and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory processes.

Cancer Research UK's sponge test trial could replace endoscopy as pre-cancer test

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A new Cancer Research UK trial involving more than 1,000 people showed oesophageal cancer can be diagnosed with a simple and cost-efficient sponge-on-a-string test.

Claimed to be a potential replacement to traditional endoscopy, the trial involved inviting more than 600 patients with Barrett's oesophagus to swallow the cytosponge capsule and to undergo an endoscopy.

The cytosponge capsule, which is swallowed and then retrieved from the mouth by pulling on the string, expands in the body to collect cells on its way out. Cytosponge was found to be well tolerated, safe and accurate at diagnosing Barrett's oesophagus.

Intel-GE Care Innovations introduces Health Harmony telehealth system

Intel-GE Care Innovations, a joint venture between Intel and GE Healthcare, launched its latest telehealth technology system, Health Harmony.

Health Harmony simplifies remote patient monitoring by offering intuitive and easy-to-use technology, enabling patients, clinicians, care providers and family caregivers to collaborate for better care in the home and within normal daily routines.

The system connects and engages patients, their families and clinicians through an easy-to-use interface, where they can share health data, educational information, and best practices customised to individual situations.