GE Buys Instrumentarium: A Big Deal May Boost Digital Mammography
The $2 billion acquisition by GE Medical Systems of Helsinki, Finland-based Instrumentarium Corp., the largest medical device deal of 2002, has obvious implications for the patient monitoring market in which both companies have major stakes. The deal also is likely to have a significant future impact on driving the growth of the digital mammography market.
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Hologic is garnering more attention these days than it might have in the past because it's just come off an "annus mirabilis." In 2006, Hologic made three vertical acquisitions in the area of breast cancer detection, and it reported stellar financial results. The company is now a market leader in osteoporosis assessment and has an approxmately 50% share of the conventional mammography customer base as well as an early lead in digital mammgoraphy, which is remarkable considering that it is a mid-sized company competing in capital equipment markets against the likes of GE and Siemens.
GE Medical's pending $9.5 billion acquisition of Amersham PLC, while cast in terms of the company's commitment to accelerate progress in personalized medicine, is fundamentally a hard-headed numbers play aimed at maintaining momentum of GE's gargantuan $10 billion medical systems business unit. GE needs healthy businesses oriented towards growing markets to maintain its momentum. And Amersham, with its stable, predictable contrast agent and protein separations businesses fits well into the portfolio. Meanwhile, the personalized medicine play holds mid-to-long term promise.
With a surge in interest in molecular imaging, GE Medical Systems has been on the prowl for new technologies that improve performance of its PET and SPECT systems, so that clinicians can obtain information at the subcellular level. Amersham Health, too, has been been looking for better systems to help improve distribution and performance of its radiopharmaceutical labeling agents. Now the two are joining forces to create a next-generation compound for PET using new, easier-to-use chemistries.