GE Healthcare dreams big with $5 million investment in CardioDx

Companies to advance development of new tools to diagnose cardiovascular disease with first healthymagination fund investment

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FAIRFIELD, Conn.—GE Healthcare, the healthcare arm of global behemoth General Electric, and CardioDx Inc., a pioneer in cardiovascular genomic diagnostics, announced in May that the companies have entered into a strategic arrangement to advance and co-develop diagnostic technologies to improve the care and management of patients with cardiovascular disease.  

GE's part of the partnership provides a $5 million investment in CardioDx through the new GE healthymagination Fund, a new equity fund that makes investments in highly promising healthcare technology companies. This is the fund's first investment, and was made through part of a Series D round of funding that healthymagination is leading.

The new, six-year, $6 billion healthymagination initiative seeks to reduce costs and improve quality of and access to healthcare on a global scale. The $250 million healthymagination Fund targets three areas for investment: broad-based diagnostics, healthcare information technology and life sciences.

The GE entities involved in this partnership include GE Healthcare, the healthymagination Fund, GE Capital and GE Global Research.  

Michael Jones, executive vice president of business development at GE Healthcare and director of GE's healthymagination Fund, says this alliance is hopefully just one of many companies with which the global conglomerate will partner.

"This new fund provides a lot more focus, structure and formality to what GE has done with equity investments," he says. "We need earlier-stage companies, and those companies need investments and our help due mainly to current market conditions. The fund's not designed to provide seed venture capital; it provides growth capital.

"What we look for is a tangible relationship between the companies in which we choose to invest that capital and what GE's trying to accomplish," Jones concludes. "We acknowledge that not every smart idea is coming from within the walls of GE."

CardioDx develops genomic tests to aid in the assessment and tailoring of care of individuals with cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure. CardioDx's initial product, Corus CAD, is a clinically validated non-invasive genomic test that uses data such as gene expression levels and other patient characteristics to assess the likelihood that a patient has obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD).  

Patients with suspected CAD are currently diagnosed through a combination of non-invasive and invasive procedures. Corus CAD uses a simple blood test to quantify the likelihood of CAD, helping cardiologists make more informed decisions on how best to diagnose and treat their patients.

GE Healthcare and CardioDx will begin the collaboration by working together to develop integrated diagnostics, combining GE Healthcare's imaging capabilities with CardioDx's genomic platform.

"This partnership leverages the capabilities of both organizations," says David Levinson, president and CEO of CardioDx. "We started talking last fall, and now have in the pipeline more tests on the coronary disease side, as well as development in arrhythmia. We will co-develop and co-promote these tests, and GE will help us take them outside the U.S. in the future."

GE Healthcare is a world-class provider of advanced technologies for cardiovascular imaging and monitoring.  The strategic fit between the two businesses combined with expanded capabilities in product research and development will accelerate the development of new high-value integrated technologies for the diagnosis and care of patients with suspected heart disease.  

"GE wants to expand into in vitro diagnostic technologies, which is our strength," says Levinson. "They have the expertise in in vivo, and we complement each other well. We have a shared vision of the future of healthcare—where innovation can help create greater healthcare efficiencies, reduce the need for unnecessary tests and enable physicians to tailor care to the individual."

GE's Jones agrees with Levinson's assessment of the alliance.

"In vitro diagnostics is a new field for GE," says Jones. "We first became aware of CardioDx five years ago, just after they formed. They were developing molecular tests to diagnose cardiac issues. For one, they were looking in to test to identify the risk of myocardial infarction—an area of high interest to GE. A lot of GE's imaging equipment is used in cardiology, so CardioDx's similar disease path research was of great interest to us. In the longer term, we seek to address needs in the healthcare marketplace, and will look for partners who will help us in research around complex, difficult-to-solve medical questions."

GE Healthcare provides medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a $16 billion unit of General Electric. Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 46,000 people in more than 100 countries.

GE Global Research is a diversified industrial research organization that provides innovative technology for all of GE's businesses. Global Research has been the cornerstone of GE technology for more than 100 years, and is now focused on developing innovations in areas such as molecular medicine, energy conversion, nanotechnology, advanced propulsion and security technologies.

CardioDx, located in Palo Alto, Calif., and founded in 2004, is a pioneer in the field of cardiovascular genomic diagnostics. The company develops tests that help physicians to better tailor care to each individual patient. The privately company is funded by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers; TPG Biotech; Mohr Davidow Ventures; Intel Capital; and Pappas Ventures.

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