General Electric’s board of directors have approved plans to separate from GE Healthcare – which sells medical imaging, monitoring, biomanufacturing and cell therapy products and services – to focus on the aviation, power and renewable energy sectors.
As a standalone company, which will maintain the GE brand, GE Healthcare “will continue to focus on delivering precision health and improving clinical, operational and patient outcomes for our customers, offering great technology, underpinned by leading digital and analytics capabilities. Life Sciences will remain as a key part of GE Healthcare,” a GE Healthcare spokesperson told us.
According to GE Healthcare CEO Kieran Murphy, the newly independent firm will have “greater flexibility to pursue future growth opportunities, react quickly to changes in the industry and invest in innovation.”
“We will build on strong customer demand for integrated precision health solutions and great technology with digital and analytics capabilities as we enter our next chapter,” he said in a statement.
GE plans to monetise approximately 20% of its interest in GE Healthcare and distribute the remaining 80% to GE shareholders over the next 12 to 18 months.
A ‘pure-play’ healthcare company
According to GE's CEO, John Flannery, the board’s decision has ‘unlocked’ a pure-play healthcare company: “We are confident that positioning GE Healthcare and [oil and gas servicing and equipment firm] Baker Hughes outside of GE’s current structure is best not only for GE and its owners, but also for these businesses, which will strengthen their market-leading positions and enhance their ability to invest for the future, while carrying the spirit of GE forward.”
Despite the discussions of changes behind the scenes, the ‘pure-play’ firm has continued to invest in the biomanufacturing technology space. This year alone has seen GE Healthcare release the KUBio BSL2 modular bioprocessing facility for viral vector-based therapeutics, the Sefia S-2000 temperature controlled cell processing system for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, and complex drug discovery technology, Biacore 8K+.
The firm’s semi-automated manufacturing platform, the FlexFactory, is also attracting increased attention from cell therapy-focused companies. In January this year, Cellular Biomedicine Group (CBMG) adopted the technology to make CAR-T therapies, and last month Xiangxue Pharmaceutical said it would install the platform to advance clinical and commercial production of cell therapies.