GE revs up the engine
12 July 2005
GE Healthcare has made two announcements that give shape to its vision of
the future of medical technology. Both announcements further blur the
already fluid boundary between medical equipment and health informatics.
Together with Swiss pharma giant Roche, GE will conduct trials to detect the
amyloid plaques believed responsible for Alzheimer's. The two companies will
use GE's PET scanning technology coupled with a specially developed imaging
agent. The trials will test six new anti-Alzheimer drugs of Roche.
This is the third drugs collaboration announced by GE: it already has
agreements with Pfizer and Eli Lilly. The company could sign deals with a
further five pharma companies.
GE is linking its announcement with its vision of personalized medicine —
the effort to move from post symptom to pre-symptom diagnosis, thanks to
advances in genome and proteome science — coupled with efforts to develop
drugs customisable to each patient's individual genetic make-up.
Personalized medicine is the product of GE's European interests, in
particular its acquisition of British firm Amersham and the leadership of
Sir William Castell, now CEO of GE Healthcare. Bringing together GE's
strengths in life sciences, imaging, in-vitro diagnosis and point of care,
it's an effort to put clear blue water between GE and its closest European
rivals: Siemens and Philips.
The other major recent announcement from GE Medical is a joint venture with
Intermountain Health Care, a US healthcare provider. The two companies will
work together to develop the next generation of GE's Centricity clinical
information system. Initially, work will focus on a system for preventing
adverse drug reactions. But down the line, the collaboration could yield an
entirely new kind of EHR, one that integrates advanced clinical decision
support, clinical information system functionality and bedside patient