Cerner agrees to acquire Siemens' health IT business for $1.3bn

US-based healthcare IT company Cerner signed a definitive agreement to buy Germany-based Siemens Health Services for $1.3bn.

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Under the deal, the two companies plan to form a strategic alliance around medical devices, imaging and healthcare technology.

The acquisition will combine investments in R&D, knowledgeable resources and complementary client bases. The new alliance has a three-year initial term. Each company will contribute about $50m to fund projects.

Medtronic pays $200m for brain-stimulation firm Sapiens SBS

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US-based Medtronic completed the acquisition of Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation (Sapiens SBS), a Dutch developer of deep brain stimulation (DBS) technologies for approximately $200m.

With the acquisition, Medtronic strengthens its capabilities in the modulation of brain function, an important field of medicine.

Sapiens SBS is focused in developing DBS system that features an advanced DBS lead with 40 individual stimulation points.

As a result of the acquisition, Medtronic will use Sapiens Eindhoven facility as a global research and development centre for its Neuromodulation business to improve the current R&D operations.

Illumina, AstraZeneca, Janssen and Sanofi to develop NGS-based oncology test system

Illumina formed collaborative partnerships with AstraZeneca, Janssen Biotech and Sanofi to develop a universal next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based oncology test system.

The initial strategic partner firms will work with Illumina to develop the system, which could be used for clinical trials of targeted cancer therapies.

The partnership aims to develop and commercialise a multi-gene panel for therapeutic selection, which in turn will result in transition from single-analyte companion diagnostics to a more comprehensive tool for precision medicine.

Abbott and US DoD collaborate to develop portable blood tests for evaluating TBIs

Abbott and the US Department of Defense (DoD) collaborated to develop portable blood tests to help assess potential concussions, also called mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Under the multi-phased approach, the tests would be developed for Abbott's i-STAT System, a handheld, diagnostic analyser that is currently used for other point-of-care testing, including testing among military service members.

US Army medical research and materiel command brain health coordinator Colonel Dr Dallas Hack said: "The quick and accurate diagnosis of a concussion is critical so that soldiers who are affected, whether on the battlefield or not, can be removed from duty to recover and to prevent further injury."

Philips and Accenture developing brain-controlled system for ALS patients


Dutch firm Royal Philips and Ireland-based IT consultancy firm Accenture announced they were developing a new software to help people with neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, live more independently.

The software allows patients with neurodegenerative diseases to control household devices such as electric bulbs and televisions using eye, voice or brain commands. The technology also allows them to request medical assistance.

The application has a wearable display and Emotiv Insight Brainware, which scans EEG brainwaves and translates them to readable data through a connected tablet.

Two Liberian hospitals deploy germ-killing robots to combat Ebola virus


Liberia-based JFK Hospital and ELWA Hospital deployed two five-foot superbug-slaying machines (devices) from the US in order to combat Ebola virus outbreak.

Dubbed TRU-D SmartUVC, the new device will help in disinfecting healthcare environments where Ebola patients are being treated.

TRU-D is the only portable UV disinfection device that features Sensor360 technology to calculate the time needed to react to room variables, including size, geometry, surface reflectivity and the amount and location of equipment in the room.

Covidien completes acquisition of Reverse Medical

Irish company Covidien completed the acquisition of Reverse Medical, a US-based privately held medical device firm, for an undisclosed amount.

Covidien said that the US medical device firm focuses on solutions for the management of vascular disease.

Covidien neurovascular president Brett Wall said: "Covidien is focused on technologies that deliver improved patient care through clinically relevant and economically valuable solutions."

The acquisition will help Covidien integrate Reverse Medical business into its neurovascular product line in the medical devices segment.

Researchers develop handheld device for treatment of melanoma


Researchers from Washington University in St Louis, US, developed a handheld device that accurately measures how deep a melanoma tumour extends into the skin, helping doctors easily make a prognosis before they treat the disease.

The researchers said the device uses lasers and sound waves applied directly onto the patient to gather diagnosis information about the melanoma tumour.

Lynn Cornelius, co-author of the study, said that the thicker the melanoma tumour is, the more likely it will spread and become deadlier.

The researchers use a photoacoustic microscopy method that can accurately measure melanoma tumours directly on a patient's skin.