CHALFONT ST. GILES, United Kingdom—GE Healthcare, General Electric's health business, has announced its plans to dedicate $1 billion of its research and development budget for the next five years to enlarge its cancer diagnostic and molecular imaging capabilities and its technologies for biopharmaceutical manufacturing and cancer research. The announcement comes alongside the company's $100 million open innovation challenge in New York City.
"We are committed to tackling cancer," John Dineen, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, said in a press release. "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. 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."
GE Healthcare's oncology portfolio covers a wide range, with a strategy that includes cellular research, laboratory diagnostics, medical imaging, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and information technology. The company is a leader in diagnostic imaging for cancer detection as well as a leader in cancer research technologies and biopharmaceutical manufacturing, and has stepped up its oncology footprint in recent years through several acquisitions.
Among its technologies is the GE Healthcare Discovery PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography) systems, which are designed to optimize a full range of oncology applications, from diagnosis and staging to treatment planning and monitoring. PET/CT aids physicians in early diagnosis, malignancy differentiation, identifying recurrences and metastases and also guiding treatment selection.
GE Healthcare's investment will focus the development of new oncology solutions as well as building on advanced technologies and existing research. Biomarkers will be one such focus, as GE's Clarient business investigates TLE3, a new biomarker to aid in the identification of patients who will not respond to Taxane. The biomarker is being developed for lung, breast and ovarian cancer. The company will also work on cancer diagnostic technology known as multiplexing, which is intended to shed light on the pathways that drive specific tumors and could allow scientists to conduct more than 50 different stains on a single tissue section. Cancer research and a connected oncology workflow are also on the work agenda, as is a collaborative project with the University of California, San Francisco, focused on the development of new C13-based agents for metabolic imaging.
"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," Mike Harsh, GE Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for GE Healthcare, said in a press release. "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 urban hospital."