- GE Healthcare unveiled a string of deals to expand its presence in the growing fields of 3D printing, surgical robotics and virtual care monitoring ahead of an investor day presentation on Monday in Chicago.
- The conglomerate said it is collaborating with Formlabs, a maker of 3D printers to prepare CT or MRI data for use in diagnosis and procedure planning. It also announced participation in a funding round for CMR Surgical, developer of the minimally invasive Versius robotic system, and an investment in software company Decisio Health that represents a move into the virtual care sector.
- In its investor presentation, GE Healthcare executives estimated 2019 revenue of $19.8 billion to $20.0 billion, flat to up slightly compared with revenue of $19.8 billion reported in 2018.
A little over a year ago, General Electric announced plans to spin off its healthcare unit into a standalone company, but in February changed course and sold its biopharma business to Danaher in a $21.4 billion transaction. Earlier in 2018, GE agreed to sell its revenue cycle, ambulatory care and workforce management assets, as well as its Centricity electronic medical records business, to private equity firm Veritas Capital.
The biopharma business GE is in the process of unloading now sells instruments, consumables and software to support drug R&D and manufacturing. Excluding biopharma, GE Healthcare's 2019 revenue is projected at $16.5 billion to $16.7 billion.
GE's remaining healthcare assets comprise imaging, ultrasound, life care solutions, pharmaceutical diagnostics, and enterprise software and solutions. In its presentation to investors, the company pegged the global market for these businesses combined at $47 billion, with projected annual growth in the range of 3% to 4%.
Spending in the U.S. healthcare market is expected to grow slightly faster in 2020, at a rate of 6%. Among the forces the company expects to continue to drag on U.S. healthcare market growth next year are continued reductions in Medicare reimbursement payments, and hospital consolidation that is resulting in slower decision making and increased purchasing power.
In Europe, GE anticipates growth in digital and AI solutions to increase productivity, while an aging installed base of equipment is also seen as a growth driver. On Monday, the company announced a multi-year agreement with Affidea, a leader in advanced diagnostic imaging, outpatient and cancer care services, to install new equipment in the French company's network of centers across Europe. In China, meanwhile, healthcare spending is expected to increase from 6.5% of gross domestic product to 8% to 9% by 2030.
GE said it is expecting a shift toward precision health to present new growth opportunities for its healthcare business. In patient monitoring, for example, it sees proactive surveillance being used on a larger scale, instead of patients being monitoring only when they get sick. It also expects artificial intelligence to drive more precise diagnostic decision-making, streamlining large volumes of data now scattered in many different places.
In September, the company received a 510(k) clearance for a set of AI algorithms designed to detect collapsed lung on X-ray images. The FDA clearance is for algorithms embedded in GE's Optima XR240amx mobile X-ray device. GE hopes the technology will help hospitals identify high-priority cases and fast track their treatment.
In announcing the three new investment deals, with Formlabs, CMR Surgical and Decisio Health, GE said it will bring its diagnostic expertise and global scale to enable greater precision in patient care. Formlabs' 3D printers can help clinicians quickly print anatomical models with data imported from GE Healthcare's Advantage Workstation, the company said.
GE said it participated as a minority investor in the recent $240 million funding round for CMR Surgical's Versius robotic system, a "small, modular and cost-effective" platform, with the aim of lessening trauma and speeding recovery times for patients. Versius received a CE mark in March and filed a submission with FDA this spring.
The collaboration with Decisio Health is expected to allow the merging of a patient's electronic medical record with real-time data such as blood pressure and lactic levels to help improve clinical decision-making, GE said.