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St Jude Medical agrees to acquire heart device maker Thoratec for $3.4bn

US-based medical device company St Jude Medical signed a definitive agreement to acquire heart device maker Thoratec for $3.4bn.

Under the agreement, St Jude Medical will purchase all outstanding shares of Thoratec for $63.5 per share.

Headquartered in California, Thoratec develops mechanical circulatory support technology to treat advanced heart failure, which includes ventricular assist devices that are used for chronic and acute patient support.

Abbott agrees to acquire medical device company Tendyne for $250m

Global healthcare firm Abbott signed an agreement to buy medical device company Tendyne for $250m.

The deal also includes potential future payments based on achieving certain regulatory milestones.

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Tendyne is involved in the development of minimally invasive mitral valve replacement therapies, and received approval from US Food and Drug Administration to conduct a clinical trial to assess the safety and effectiveness of its Bioprosthetic Mitral Valve system.

The company has started enrolling patients in the study, and is planning for another clinical trial in 2016 to receive CE Mark approval in Europe.

Medtronic to buy RF Surgical Systems for $235m

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Medtronic signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-based medical device company RF Surgical Systems for $235m.

The RF Surgical business will be merged into Medtronic’s Surgical Solutions division within the Minimally Invasive Technologies Group.

Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, RF Surgical Systems develops systems to detect and prevent surgical sponge-related ‘never events.’

Medtronic Minimally Invasive Therapies Group Surgical Innovations Business president and senior vice-president Chris Barry said: "Patients are our priority. Improving patient safety and outcomes is our daily focus, which directly aligns with the RF Surgical technology, a simple and cost-effective solution to avoidable complications in surgical procedures."

Allergan agrees to buy Oculeve for $125m

Global pharmaceutical company Allergan signed an agreement to acquire US-based development stage medical device firm Oculeve in an all-cash transaction valued at $125m.

Headquartered in south San Francisco, California, Oculeve is involved in developing new technologies for dry eye disease.

Under the agreement, Allergan will pay commercialisation milestone payments related to Oculeve’s lead development programme, OD-01.

The OD-01 is a non-invasive nasal neurostimulation device that increases tear production in patients with dry eye disease, and has completed four clinical studies in more than 200 patients, showing positive safety and efficacy.

UCSB scientists develop implantable artificial pancreas for Type 1 diabetes

The University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) scientists developed an implantable artificial pancreas, which continuously measures a patient’s glucose level and can automatically release insulin as needed.

Developed as part of efforts to make monitoring and insulin delivery automatic and needle-free in patients with Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas works with an algorithm that monitors blood sugar levels and computes an insulin dose for rapid and automatic delivery, when necessary.

Designed by UCSB researchers, the algorithm can work with implanted devices and also helps overcome the delays experienced with current delivery devices.

FDA clears alternate confirmation test for Bayer’s Essure contraceptive

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) as an alternate confirmation test for Bayer HealthCare’s Essure permanent birth control.

The confirmation test is required three months after the Essure procedure to establish that the device is properly placed and the woman can depend on the procedure.

Women are being asked to use an alternate form of birth control to prevent pregnancy until she receives a confirmation from their doctor.

Merck launches new Eeva Test version to optimise assisted reproductive outcomes

eeva test

Merck Serono launched a new version of its early embryo viability assessment (Eeva) test to aid embryo assessment within assisted reproductive treatment (ART).

Building upon the company’s proven non-invasive Eeva test, the improved Eeva system 2.3 features an advanced Xtend Algorithm that enables ART labs to capture a more complete picture of embryo development.

When used adjunctively with legacy morphology, the algorithm increases the chances of identifying embryos that have the highest developmental potential compared to traditional morphology alone.

UK funds six major projects to bring new pathology tests to patients

The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded six nodes that are focused on the development of diagnostic tools to enable stratification, in support of molecular pathology.

Led by the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham, the nodes will enable stratification in disease areas such as cancer, respiratory diseases, digestive disease, infections, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and lupus.

UK life sciences minister George Freeman said: "This £16m investment will enhance our UK-wide capability to deliver 21st century diagnostics and complement initiatives such as the Precision Medicine Catapult Centre to make sure that ground-breaking medicines and technologies are adopted by the NHS and delivered to patients as quickly as possible."