Baltimore-based Visicu Inc., which went public less than two years ago, has agreed to be acquired by the healthcare unit of Netherlands-based electronics giant Royal Philips Electronics. The price: $430 million. The Dutch company is paying 35 per cent over the 17 December closing price of $8.86 for Viscu, which makes systems to monitor intensive-care patients. The Visicu board has agreed to recommend the transaction to the company’s shareholders. Philips’ move comes two weeks after the company acquired another clinical IT company, Emergin. Visicu, was founded in 1998 by two doctors who developed the concept working between shifts in the intensive-care unit at Hopkins. Philips is reported to have agreed to keep most of the Visicu management in place. Visicu’s eICU program can track ICU patients at various hospitals, and provides continuous monitoring of patient vitals signs, medications, labs and early-warning alarms (or ‘smart alerts’) triggered by deviations in patients’ vital signs based on current diagnosis. The smart alerts send warning signals to physicians and nurses to provide early medical intervention and optimal care. According to the company, the eICU program supplements hospitals’ critical care staff by allowing them to increase the number of ICU patients monitored by a factor of 15. Several affiliated hospitals have now expanded their eICU programs to serve smaller regional and rural hospitals outside their network. Visicu has a staff of about 100, including clinicians, software developers, sales and client services personnel. The company had sales over a 12-month period ending in the third quarter of 2007 of approximately $36 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of approximately $9 million. Its sales are reported to have nearly doubled over the last three years, and the company has its systems in about 180 U.S. hospitals. Philips will use its extensive sales channel network to accelerate the adoption of Visicu’s eICU by ICUs in US hospitals and to take it global while also “migrating its technologies into other departments within the hospital”. The Dutch company believes that leveraging Visicu’s and Emergin’s clinical IT capabilities will help it accelerate growth in its existing patient monitoring business in areas like oncology, cardiology and women’s health.