$1.1 billion of GE Healthcare’s sales came from the China market
in 2010. The company wants to keep its leading position in providing medical devices targeted at higher-end Chinese customers,
and also break into China’s growing market for primary health
care, a key goal of the Chinese government’s healthcare reform
plans. To do that, GE Healthcare plans to boost China-based research, enabling it to introduce at least 20 products for the local
market during the next three years.
With a multi-billion dollar division such as GE Healthcare, you
can bet that acquisitions also are part of the mix. They certainly
were in fiscal 2011.
In April the company acquired the assets of privately held
Steady State Imaging, a Minneapolis, Minn.- based company that
develops novel magnetic resonance imaging technology. Terms of
agreement were not disclosed. Through that acquisition, GE
Healthcare expanded its current advanced technology portfolio
with the addition of the University of Minnesota’s sweep imaging
with fourier transform (SWIFT) method, which allows the visualization of tendons, ligaments and other tissues not normally seen
using conventional imaging methods. The SWIFT method has
gained interest among MRI researchers for its potential for imaging in areas near the lungs and other parts of the body where conventional MRI is not typically effective.
“The fact that a startup company based on University of Minnesota technology is being acquired by an industry leader like GE
Healthcare is tremendous news,”said Tim Mulcahy, vice president
for research at the University of Minnesota. “This not only helps
fulfill our mission of moving researcher inventions to the public
domain as quickly as possible, it also validates the innovative work
of … the University’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research.”
Also in April, GE acquired Issaquah, Wash.-based Applied Precision Inc., a supplier of cellular imaging technologies for the fast-growing cell biology and biomedical research sectors. The
acquisition of Applied Precision will allow GE Healthcare to expand its offering of products and services for pharmaceutical and
life-science research. Applied Precision develops and manufactures high-resolution and super-resolution microscopy instruments with software and data visualization tools that provide
scientists with detailed information on the structure and behavior
of live and fixed cells.
During the year, GE renewed its collaborative relationship with
STERIS Corp. to continue offering interventional suites optimized
with products from both companies. Combining the companies’
technologies provides physicians with a unified system for imaging and surgical procedures in integrated and hybrid operating
rooms. The relationship brings together GE Healthcare’s Innova
imaging systems for single plane with custom-designed high-definition 360-degree suites from STERIS featuring LED surgical
grade lighting, video-switching and visualization systems, and
equipment management solutions. The two companies will collaborate to facilitate room planning and installation for seamlessly
integrated interventional suites tailored to the precise needs of
In December, GE Capital (the company’s financial services division) and GE Healthcare invested in C8 MediSensors Inc., a privately held developer of non-invasive continuous glucose monitors
for diabetic patients. The investment was made through the GE
Healthymagination Fund, an equity fund that makes investments
in highly promising healthcare technology companies. The investment is aligned with GE Healthcare’s expanding focus on disease
management solutions that can improve healthcare globally, as
well as GE’s broader healthymagination initiative, which focuses
on reducing cost, increasing patient access and improving quality
in healthcare. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
As many as 552 million people, or about 1 in 10 adults worldwide,
could have diabetes by 2030, according to a recent report by the
International Diabetes Federation. Additionally, as many as 183
million people may be unaware that they have diabetes, according
to the report, and the highest proportion of cases is among those
ages 40 to 59. C8 MediSensors has combined their proprietary
technology with Raman spectroscopy to commercialize a non-invasive glucose monitor that can improve the lives of diabetics by
giving them a continuous view of their glucose levels without the
pain, inconvenience and high cost of invasive glucose monitoring.
MediSensors is pursuing the European market before seeking regulatory approval in the United States.
The 2011 fiscal year also brought executive transition.
GE Healthcare promoted Kieran Murphy to succeed current
Life Sciences president and CEO Peter Ehrenheim who retired.
Murphy was GE Healthcare’s head of Global Commercial Operations, Life Sciences. Kieran joined GE upon its acquisition of
Whatman plc, where he was CEO, in 2008. Ehrenheim retired after
a career with the company beginning in 1983 as a mechanical designer in R&D with Pharmacia, which was acquired in 1997 by
Amersham International. In 2003 Peter was appointed to the
Amersham executive team and upon its acquisition by GE in 2004,
he was promoted to vice president and CEO, Life Sciences.
Jan De Witte who was serving as president and CEO of GE
Healthcare’s Performance Solutions division, also was named
president and CEO of its Healthcare IT business. De Witte, who
reports to GE Healthcare President and CEO John Dineen, succeeds Vishal Wanchoo who was named senior vice president of
Growth Initiatives for GE India. De Witte was named head of Performance Solutions in June 2010. He has served in a number of
strategic technology and business leadership roles since he joined
GE in 1999. He has a diverse background in services, digital business strategy, supply chain, manufacturing, quality and Lean Six
Sigma. De Witte graduated from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Flanders, Belgium, with a Master’s of Science Degree in
Electro-Mechanical Engineering, and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
GE’s healthcare division also gained some executive leadership
from its highly successful aviation unit. GE Aviation’s Tom Gentile
joined Healthcare as president and CEO of Healthcare Systems.
Mike Swinford was named president and CEO of a new Global
Services business. Gentile was vice president of GE Aviation’s Serv-