Grassley probes VA, Medtronic over official's ties; Roche unit, Fluidigm sign pact;

> Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has sent letters to Medtronic as well as the head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs asking for more information about a high-ranking official at the VA who was once a consultant for the medical technology company. Article

> 454 Life Sciences, a Roche company, and Fluidigm Corporation announced they have entered a worldwide co-promotional agreement for the companies' complementary amplicon sample preparation and high-throughput sequencing platforms. Roche/Fluidigm release

> Wright Medical Group is seeking tax breaks to support an expansion of its existing headquarters in Arlington, officials said. So far, the medical device maker has made its request informally, said Rick Phillips, chairman of the Arlington Industrial Development Board. Article

> The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) is warning the public of two Chinese companies based at East Legon, Accra, that are engaged in activities which pose serious threat to public health and safety. It said Tasly Co. Ltd and Qunloon Gh. Ltd were importing and distributing unregistered medical devices and herbal medicinal products. Story

> Caldera Medical has relocated its corporate headquarters to a larger facility in Agoura Hills in anticipation of continued growth and capability expansion. Story

> CHI--California Healthcare Institute--today announced the release of a new white paper titled "Upcoming Changes to the 510(k) Process: New Approval Pathways and the Impact on Medical Device Development and Innovation." CHI is a non-profit public policy research and advocacy organization, representing leading California academic institutions, biotechnology, medical device, diagnostics and pharmaceutical firms.  CHI release

> An actor accidentally zapped by a defibrillator on a Burbank soundstage has sued the maker of the device designed to help heart attack victims, saying the incident has made him hesitant to ply his trade. Story

> The eyes of sheep infected with scrapie--a neurological disorder similar to mad cow disease--return an intense, almost-white glow when they're hit with blue excitation light, according to a research project led by Iowa State University's Jacob Petrich. News

And Finally... In another nod to biomimicry as a potent source of design and engineering innovation, researchers at Princeton University have developed a new sensor that can change the way drugs and medical devices are tested for contamination, and it uses frog skin to do it. Article