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GE Healthcare to Invest $1B in Cancer R&D Including Biomarker Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – GE Healthcare today announced plans to dedicate $1 billion in research and development spending over the next five years to expand its cancer diagnostic and molecular imaging capabilities, technologies for manufacturing biopharmaceuticals, and cancer research.

In line with those plans, its Clarient business is furthering development of a biomarker to identify patients who do not respond to taxane therapies for certain cancers. GE purchased Clarient last year for around $580 million with an eye toward combining Clarient's biomarker efforts with its existing imaging capabilities.

"[W]ith a disease as complex and multifaceted as cancer, solutions need to be equally multifaceted and even more integrated, combining imaging, molecular diagnostics, and healthcare IT," GE Healthcare President and CEO John Dineen said in a statement.

GE also announced a $100 million open innovation challenge "to find and fund ideas to accelerate detection of breast cancer and enable more personalized treatment." The new investments, it said, will "focus on developing new oncology solutions and build on advanced technologies and research already in progress."

One area of research focuses on a new biomarker, TLE3, which is being developed to help clinicians exclude patients least likely to benefit from taxane therapy. The biomarker is being developed by GE Clarient for breast cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer.

In addition to improving patient outcomes, the work could save the healthcare system millions of dollars each year, GE said, adding it hopes to have a test based on the biomarker launched in 2013.

GE also plans to invest in molecular pathology for the development of cancer diagnostic technologies for "a clearer picture of pathways driving specific tumors," as well as research that advances understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer.

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