Zarlink Semiconductor Inc.

Zarlink Semiconductor Inc.

November 11, 2008 09:30 ET

Zarlink Semiconductor: In-Body Microgenerator Converts Heartbeat into Electricity for Implanted Medical Devices

- Microgenerator taps in-body energy source to help power cardiac pacemakers and ICDs supporting advanced health-monitoring applications and therapies

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 11, 2008) - A UK-based consortium of companies today announced it has successfully designed and clinically tested an in-body model microgenerator that converts energy from the heartbeat into power for implanted medical devices. Partners in the Self-Energizing Implantable Medical Microsystem (SIMM) project include Zarlink Semiconductor (TSX:ZL), InVivo Technology Limited, Perpetuum Limited, Finsbury Orthopaedics and Odstock Medical.

The SIMM microgenerator could help power implanted medical devices by augmenting the existing battery for devices such as cardiac pacemakers and implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). In preclinical testing, the microgenerator successfully produced one-third of the energy required to power a conventional cardiac pacemaker. The consortium is currently discussing next steps for the microgenerator project with medical device manufacturers. Dr. Paul Roberts, consultant electrophysiologist at Southampton University Hospital, UK, presented details on the SIMM project at this week's American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2008 in New Orleans.

"The microgenerator taps an in-body energy supply - the heartbeat - to help enable more advanced, smaller implanted medical devices that will improve patient care and comfort," said Martin McHugh, business development manager with Zarlink Semiconductor's Advanced Packaging group and SIMM project coordinator. "Taking advantage of a continuous in-body power source, instead of relying solely on batteries, means implanted medical devices supporting advanced diagnostics and therapies can be more easily designed."

Implanted medical devices are increasingly incorporating advanced features in an effort to improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. For example, cardiac pacemakers are integrating wireless technology to enable home-based health monitoring, with patient health and device performance data transmitted to the physician's office over a broadband network. Wireless technology is also enabling a range of new diagnostics and therapies, including implanted devices used to monitor and treat diabetes and neurostimulators that can alleviate chronic pain or lessen the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease.

The SIMM microgenerator is a catheter-mounted device that would be placed on a conventional pacemaker or defibrillator lead. The device harvests energy by using differential pressure within the chambers of the heart to drive a linear generator. During testing, the device generated one-third of the power required to run a pacemaker (excluding pacing demand). Next-generation microgenerator devices are expected to fully power both the pacemaker and pacing requirements. Placement of the microgenerator is uncomplicated and is fully compatible with existing techniques for implanting cardiac devices.

"Previous attempts to harvest human energy have resulted in systems that require surgical techniques that pose an unacceptable risk to patients," said Dr. Paul Roberts, consultant electrophysiologist at Southampton University Hospital, UK. "The SIMM device is designed to be incorporated into a conventional pacemaker or ICD lead, meaning it will not affect current implant procedures for either the cardiologist or patient while delivering a significant clinical benefit. While supporting new applications and functionality, the microgenerator will also improve quality-of-life for patients by enabling smaller devices with a longer operating life."

About the SIMM project

Announced in December 2006, the SIMM consortium received pounds sterling 560,000 in matched funding from the UK government Technology Strategy Board to prototype a device capable of harvesting energy from body movement. The multi-disciplinary consortium is made up of companies chosen for their core engineering skill, product exploitation capability and clinical excellence. The group includes:

- InVivo Technology - helped to evolve and establish the clinical acceptability and feasibility of proposed energy capture mechanisms;

- Perpetuum Ltd. - provided the energy-harvesting microgenerator technology;

- Zarlink Semiconductor - provided advanced micro-packaging techniques at its microelectronics facility in Caldicot UK, and was appointed project leader.

For more information on the SIMM project, visit:

About Zarlink Semiconductor

For over 30 years, Zarlink Semiconductor has delivered semiconductor solutions that drive the capabilities of voice, enterprise, broadband and wireless communications. The Company's success is built on its technology strengths including voice and data networks, optoelectronics and ultra low-power communications. For more information, visit

About InVivo Technology

InVivo Technology is a medical technology business, developing intellectual property for innovative healthcare applications. The company's interests are diverse, ranging from interventional devices and implants to telehealth monitoring and the management of chronic disease. For more information:

About Perpetuum

UK-based Perpetuum is the world leader in vibration energy harvesting, producing the first commercially available vibration energy harvester for industry, the PMG17. Using normal vibration created by machinery as a source of energy, the PMG17 is an enabling technology for fast growing wireless sensor node applications. Perpetuum innovative power source enables continuous online monitoring for proactive asset management, helping organizations strive towards operational excellence. For more information, visit or email

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Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, among others, the following: our dependence on the successful development and market introduction of new products; our ability to integrate any business, technologies, product lines or services that we have or will acquire; our dependence on revenue generation from our legacy products in order to fund development of our new products; current market conditions, including the lack of liquidity in the markets and anticipated economic slow down, may increase our operating costs or reduce our revenue; thereby negatively impacting our operating results; our ability to operate profitably and generate positive cash flows in the future; our dependence on our foundry suppliers and third-party subcontractors; order cancellations and deferrals by our customers; our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our financial position; the cost and accounting implications of compliance with new accounting standards; and other factors referenced in our Annual Report on Form 20-F. Investors are encouraged to consider the risks detailed in this filing.

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