GE Healthcare drops $ 1.45 billion to buy BK Medical, bringing ultrasound franchise to operating room


As GE Healthcare seeks to expand its ultrasound franchise from the examination room to the operating room, a $ 1.45 billion deal to acquire BK Medical and its surgical visualization technology could be the perfect fit.

BK Medical provides imaging support during procedures, allowing physicians to scan the inside of the body in real time during minimally invasive, robotic and open surgeries, with applications spanning the brain, spine and abdomen .

The cash deal with BK Medical owner Altaris Capital Partners will bring the company’s headquarters in Boston and Copenhagen along with more than 650 employees. GE Healthcare noted he expects the acquisition to quickly drive revenue growth after it closes in 2022, as BK Medical’s devices are associated with its global commercial scale and integrated with the rest of its ultrasound catalog.

“The addition of the rapidly growing and relatively new field of real-time surgical visualization to GE’s pre- and post-operative ultrasound capabilities will create an end-to-end offering across the continuum of care, from diagnosis to therapy and beyond ”Roland Rott, president and CEO of GE Healthcare’s ultrasound business, said in a statement.

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According to the company, GE Healthcare’s ultrasound portfolio generated $ 3 billion in revenue in a pre-pandemic 2019 period, although its point-of-care cardiac and pulmonary diagnostic probes would see more later an increase in demand due to the spread of COVID-19.

And earlier this year, the medical tech giant launched two ultrasound diagnostic devices, including one for COVID-19 services as well as a new pocket-sized wireless probe.

The cart-mounted Venue Fit includes AI software to help scan the heart, lungs and kidneys for signs of coronavirus complications, automatically measuring heart strength and highlighting signs of pneumonia.

Vscan Air (GE Healthcare)

Meanwhile, the portable Vscan Air connects to a smartphone and features a double-sided dual-probe design that allows it to be used for shallow and deep tissue imaging.

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“Ultrasound is an integral part of many healthcare journeys today, and BK Medical is a strategic and highly complementary addition to our growing and profitable ultrasound business,” said Kieran Murphy, President and CEO of GE Healthcare, who plans to step down at the end of the year before finally retiring from the company.

BK Medical’s intraoperative devices can be used to help accurately locate the placement of biopsy or ablation needles during cancer procedures, for example, and also to monitor blood flow before and after ablation. of a tumor. The company offers a range of transducer sizes, from the smallest for reaching difficult areas of the skull, to laparoscopic leads that can be mounted on a robotic arm.

Meanwhile, the field of ultrasound is growing at a rapid pace, as new advancements seek to put smarter probes into smaller packages.

Last summer, wearable device maker Exo (pronounced “echo”) raised $ 220 million in a venture capital round, while competitor Butterfly Network went public earlier this year as part a $ 1.5 billion PSPC deal. Additionally, Butterfly is teaming up with artificial intelligence developer Caption Health to import its real-time exam guidance software into its pocket probes.

And most recently in surgery, Gynesonics obtained FDA clearance for its ultrasound guided ablation system to precisely combat uterine fibroids. In clinical studies, 99% of patients required no further surgery to treat heavy menstrual bleeding, a common side effect of fibroid procedures.

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