GE Healthcare to Invest $1 Billion in New Oncology Solutions
9/16/2011 -- CHALFONT ST. GILES, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- GE Healthcare, the
health business of General Electric (NYSE: GE), announced its plans to dedicate
$1 billion of its total R&D budget over the next five years to expand its
advanced cancer diagnostic and molecular imaging capabilities, as well as its
world-class technologies for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and for
Announced alongside a $100m open innovation challenge in New York City, the $1
billion investment crosses all lines of GE Healthcare's global business and is
an example of the company's commitment to fighting cancer. The investment will
enable the company to bring the most promising cancer ideas to market,
unleashing technologies that improve accuracy of diagnosis to enable more
effective treatment decisions and empower doctors and patients with better
"We are committed to tackling cancer. However, with a disease as complex and
multifaceted as cancer, solutions need to be equally multifaceted and even more
integrated, combining imaging, molecular diagnostics and healthcare IT," said
John Dineen, president and CEO, GE Healthcare. "As one of the most relevant
global cancer diagnostic companies, we are devoting an even greater share of our
R&D budget to continue developing new oncology solutions."
Today, GE Healthcare already offers a wide portfolio for oncology and a strategy
that combines cellular research, medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics,
biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and information technology. These
innovative technologies help researchers increase their understanding of the
causes and progression of cancer and help physicians make more personalized
cancer treatment and management decisions, while improving clinical outcomes and
accelerating the delivery of care.
A key global healthcare challenge is the dramatic increase in cancer incidence
around the world. According to World Health Organization data, cancer rates
could increase by 50 percent, leading to 15 million new cases in 2020. From a
clinical standpoint, the rapid increase in targeted and patient-specific cancer
therapies is driving demand for molecular diagnostics.
Building a 'Deeper Bench' of Oncology Expertise
GE Healthcare is seen as a leader in diagnostic imaging for the detection of
cancer and as a leading provider of technologies for cancer research and
biopharmaceutical manufacturing. In recent years, the company has significantly
expanded its presence in the oncology arena through strategic acquisitions,
including Amersham plc. (2004), Biacore International AB (2006), Wave Biotech
LLC (2007), MicroCal LLC (2008), Clarient (2010) and Applied Precision (2011)
and a joint venture Omnyx (2009).
A recognized pioneer of oncology invention for over 50 years, GE Healthcare
continues to research and develop industry-defining technologies. This work is
happening at a fast pace across the company, in close collaboration with GE
Global Research and through a number of strategic partnerships and alliances.
Of the imaging tools available to help oncologists manage a patient's complete
cancer pathway, there are few that offer as much clinical versatility and value
as Positron Emission Tomography (PET)/Computed Tomography (CT). Combining
functional and anatomical data in a single image, PET/CT excels in early
diagnosis, uncovering valuable information on tumor location, size and metabolic
activity. It assists physicians in differentiating between malignant and benign
lesions, identifying recurrences and metastases, and guiding treatment selection
and delivery. The GE Healthcare Discovery* PET/CT systems are designed to
optimize the full range of oncology applications, from diagnosis and staging to
treatment planning and monitoring. Their versatility presents an ideal solution
for multi-use and shared services, and across the patient care cycle.
GE Healthcare is introducing new tracers to the FASTlab* multi-tracer platform,
an advanced PET chemistry system on which the company is also developing PET
proprietary agents. FASTlab* offers a number of significant enhancements to
address the ever-evolving challenges of tracer production.
Investing in Invention
"The only way we can help clinicians beat cancer is to give them the tools to
find it earlier, stage it better, and quantitatively measure response to
therapy," said GE Vice President and GE Healthcare Chief Technology Officer Mike
Harsh, who oversees GE Healthcare's global research and development efforts.
"The integration of GE Healthcare's expertise in imaging, analytics,
diagnostics, cellular analysis, and healthcare IT is helping create technologies
and solutions that can be used in a rural developing country or in a modern
The investment will focus on developing new oncology solutions and build on
advanced technologies and research already in progress.
New biomarkers: A leader in the fast-growing in vitro molecular diagnostic
sector, GE's Clarient business provides diagnostic tests that pathologists and
oncologists use to understand the nature of a cancer. Clarient is investigating
a new biomarker, TLE3, to identify patients who will not respond to Taxane. The
goal of this test is to help clinicians exclude those patients from this therapy
who are least likely to benefit, thus saving them needless exposure to serious
side effects. TLE3 is being developed for breast cancer, lung cancer and ovarian
cancer by GE Clarient. This will potentially save healthcare systems millions of
dollars each year, not to mention the benefits to patient care. Our hope is to
have these tests ready for market launch in 2013.
Molecular pathology: GE Global Research scientists are working on an exclusive
cancer diagnostic technology that may give a clearer picture of pathways driving
specific tumors. This may lead to more effective, personalized treatment
recommendations. Called multiplexing, the technology could allow pathologists to
conduct more than 50 different stains on a single tissue section.
Cancer research: GE's innovative technologies for Life Science research are used
in cancer research laboratories worldwide to advance understanding of the
molecular mechanisms behind cancer. GE Healthcare's cellular and sub-cellular
imaging technologies, such as the IN Cell 6000 and Applied Precision's
super-resolution microscopes, are central to many areas of cancer research
including drug discovery and biomarker research.
Biopharmaceutical manufacturing: GE's world-class biotechnology products and
services are used in the manufacture of the majority of FDA-approved
biopharmaceuticals and are important for developing new and targeted cancer
Hyperpolarizer: In collaboration with the University of California, San
Francisco (UCSF), GE Healthcare and GE Global Research are developing new
C13-based agents for metabolic imaging. University researchers have just
announced groundbreaking results from a study of prostate cancer utilizing GE's
C13 technology, where real-time metabolic imaging of a human patient was
conducted for the first time. A member of the UCSF research team describes it as
a groundbreaking approach to understanding the precise margins of a tumor, how
fast the tumor is growing and how well it responds to treatment.
Connected oncology workflow: MD Connect is a new, innovative thin-client
solution designed for oncology that addresses the need for a seamless workflow
from scan to plan through monitoring treatment effectiveness. MD Connect helps
improve productivity across the cancer care continuum. Powered by the GE AW
Server, it enables plug-and-play access via virtually any networked computer to
the complete suite of oncology applications from any location or department. MD
Connect integrates with the Eclipse(TM) treatment planning platform from Varian
Medical Systems, all on one desktop and other DICOM-based treatment planning