HEALTH

Test kit that detects influenza A and B virus within 15 minutes launches in Europe

BY Michael Johnsen

WALTHAM, Mass. — Alere on Thursday announced the availability in Europe of the Alere i Influenza A & B test, a molecular test that detects and differentiates influenza A and B virus in less than 15 minutes. The test is now commercially available in Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the U.K. 

"Alere i is a transformational platform that allows healthcare professionals to make a rapid influenza diagnosis — and effective patient management decisions — in a clinically meaningful timeframe, whether the patient is in the physician office, emergency department or urgent care clinic," stated Avi Pelossof, Alere global president of infectious disease. "Alere i also significantly expands screening opportunities by making innovative, rapid molecular testing technology available at the point of care as well as in laboratory settings." 

Molecular testing involves the extraction and analysis of DNA or RNA strands to detect sequences associated with viral and bacterial causes of infections. Alere i Influenza A & B is the first molecular diagnostic test that delivers actionable, lab-accurate results in less than 15 minutes on a user-friendly platform, the company stated. The proprietary technology utilizes isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology, which, unlike polymerase chain reaction testing, does not require temperature cycling and can therefore deliver results more quickly and to a broader range of settings. 

Alere i tests for Strep A, C. difficile, respiratory syncytial virus and chlamydia/gonorrhoea are currently in development.

Alere i Influenza A & B is currently under regulatory review in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration and is not available in the U.S. pending completion of such review.

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KT Tape acquired by private equity firm Palladin Consumer Retail Partners

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — Private equity firm Palladin Consumer Retail Partners on Thursday announced the acquisition of KT Health, a producer of kinesiology tape and related sports medicine products in the retail market. KT Tape, the company’s flagship product, is used by professional and recreational athletes to prevent injury, reduce pain, promote recovery and maximize comfort.  

“We are excited to join forces with the Palladin team, who have tremendous experience in growing consumer brands," stated John Mackay, KT Health CEO. "Their support, expertise and involvement will be instrumental in capitalizing on the significant growth opportunities ahead. We also look forward to working with our great retail partners and loyal customers, as we expand the reach of KT Tape and introduce other related products to benefit athletes worldwide.”

KT Tape is sold in 22,000 retail doors in the United States in sporting goods, food, drug and mass retail channels, as well as through clinicians, online retailers and the company’s own e-commerce site, KTTape.com, the company stated. 

KT Health, based in Lindon, Utah, was formed in 2008 with the intent of empowering everyday athletes to prevent injury, recover faster and play harder. The company will continue to be led by its founders, Mackay, Jim Jenson and Ryan Dewey. The founders and other shareholders will partner with Palladin by reinvesting a significant portion of their equity. Palladin’s support will enable KT Health to expand its market presence, product range and opportunities in the sports medicine category.  

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

 

 

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Study: Potential therapeutic role for aspirin in inhibiting cancerous vestibular schwannoma growth

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital have demonstrated that aspirin intake correlates with halted growth of vestibular schwannomas, also known as acoustic neuromas, a sometimes lethal intracranial tumor that typically causes hearing loss and tinnitus.

Motivated by experiments in the Molecular Neurotology Laboratory at Mass. Eye and Ear involving human tumor specimens, the researchers performed a retrospective analysis of more than 600 people diagnosed with vestibular schwannoma at Mass. Eye and Ear. Their research suggests the potential therapeutic role of aspirin in inhibiting tumor growth and motivates a clinical prospective study to assess efficacy of this well-tolerated anti-inflammatory medication in preventing growth of these intracranial tumors.

"Currently, there are no FDA-approved drug therapies to treat these tumors, which are the most common tumors of the cerebellopontine angle and the fourth most common intracranial tumors," explained Konstantina Stankovic, Mass. Eye and Ear clinican-researcher and assistant professor of otology andlaryngology, Harvard Medical School, who led the study. "Current options for management of growing vestibular schwannomas include surgery — via craniotomy — or radiation therapy, both of which are associated with potentially serious complications."

The findings, which are described in the February issue of the journal Otology and Neurotology, were based on a retrospective series of 689 people, 347 of whom were followed with multiple magnetic resonance imaging MRI scans. The main outcome measures were patient use of aspirin and rate of vestibular schwannoma growth measured by changes in the largest tumor dimension as noted on serial MRIs. 

"Our results suggest a potential therapeutic role of aspirin in inhibiting vestibular schwannoma growth," Stankovic said.

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