At today’s healthymagination press conference, GE’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt made four healthcare announcements, including a significant advancement in cancer research with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. The companies are developing technology to visualize and map complex biomarker networks that could enable faster drug development at less cost — and provide more personalized therapies. At the press conference, Jeff also announced the creation of a $250 million fund to invest in healthcare technology companies; a new $25 million aid program to help underserved clinics in the US; and the acquisition of MRI technology from ONI Medical Systems.
The cancer research resulted from the two companies’ collaboration formed in October 2007. Working together, the research teams have developed tissue-based biomarker technology that for the first time can simultaneously map more than 25 proteins in tumors at the sub-cellular level, an important step in the development of personalized cancer treatments.
Currently, a diagnosis of cancer and the decision of which therapy to prescribe are based on the histology of the tumor and, in some cases, the expression of just one or two biomarkers. With this new technology developed in GE’s Biosciences labs, researchers can now look at a visual map of the tissue sample. To date, the new technology has been tested successfully on colon and prostate cancer tissue samples and is believed to be applicable to all types of cancer.
“This new approach to molecular pathology unlocks information that has been hidden from doctors,” said Mark Little, senior vice president and director, GE Global Research. “Our new mapping technology is designed to bring new therapies to market faster and to make sure that the right patients get the right medicines.” Read the full announcement.
Also during the press conference, held at GE’s healthymagination technology showcase in Midtown Manhattan, Jeff announced the launch of the $250 million GE Healthymagination Fund, which will invest in high potential healthcare technology companies. The fund will focus on companies globally that have innovative diagnostic, IT, and life sciences technologies aligned with the strategic objectives of GE’s healthymagination initiative. The fund will also support healthcare companies developing innovative and unique business models and services and will draw on capabilities from across GE Healthcare, GE Capital and GE Global Research.
During the press conference, Jeff also announced that GE, the GE Foundation, and the GE Corporate Diversity Council have launched “Developing Health,” a new 3-year, $25 million program that provides grant funding and employee engagement to selected health centers across the US.
“At a time when the topic of healthcare is such a priority for all Americans, the GE Foundation continues to improve the lives of others through their generosity,” New York City’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg said in a statement. “They have been a solid partner in efforts to enhance the lives of countless New Yorkers. We are grateful for their recognition and generosity in supporting the hard work of New York City’s public health clinics, and for their commitment to helping our City’s residents in underserved communities get greater access to primary health care providers.”
GE Healthcare also announced today that it is buying the assets of Massachusetts-based ONI Medical Systems. ONI provides high-performance low-cost, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems that are designed specifically for imaging the extremities. The technology allows claustrophobic patients to sit comfortably for their MRI scan, with image quality comparable to whole-body scanners. Read the announcement.
Read our recent stories from the new healthymagination technology showcase:
* “A closer look at GE’s pocket-sized Vscan ultrasound”
* “Vscan pocket-sized, ultra-smart ultrasound unveiled”
* “A breakthrough decision support solution for docs”
* “Tackling access with Brivo imaging technologies”
* “The business of bringing healthymagination to market”
* “At the showcase: Health by design and window tweets”
* “Scintillating tech: The world’s 1st high-def CT scanner”
* “Healthymagination tech showcase kicks off in NYC”
Click here to watch a replay of Jeff Immelt’s webcast from the healthymagination showcase on October 21.
* Check out photos from the healthymagination showcase on Flickr.