CHALFONT ST. GILES, U.K.—In a plan first formulated when the two business units were split apart nearly four years ago, GE Healthcare recently announced that it was combining its Protein Separations and Discovery Systems business unit to create GE Healthcare Life Sciences. The new unit will be focused around five core segments: bioprocess, protein sciences, discovery sciences, genomic sciences and services.
"The main reason for putting these two businesses together is because they were in many cases serving the same market, particularly on the research side," says Peter Ehrenheim, president and CEO of the new business unit. Previously, Ehrenheim was the head of GE's protein separations business, based in Uppsala, Sweden.
The two divisions were originally a part of GE unit Amersham and were separated in 2002 within Amersham in order to focus the protein separations business on growth and to restructure the discovery systems business. "A that point in time, we had already concluded that would be a temporary separation and that at some point we would recombine the two," Ehrenheim notes.
It became apparent the time was right for GE to recombine the businesses, in part due to the continuing emergence of proteomics as a strong growth sector, says Ger Brophy general manager of discovery sciences for GE.
"Our capital equipment is a profitable business," Brophy states. "But we wanted to create a genuine partnership model with our customers in order to generate recurring revenue. We are really aligning our business around the growth of proteins and it was confusing for our customers when we were keeping these two separate."
The business unit will operate out of three major hubs, Ehrenheim says, in Piscataway, N.J., Cardiff, Wales and Uppsala, Sweden. Sales for the combined business, which boasts roughly 3,500 employees worldwide, top $1.2 billion. While there was some reduction in staff as a result of the merger, Ehrenheim says it was not significant.