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The GE Well being Unit buys the Swedish start-up Prismatic Sensors, thereby strengthening the medical imaging enterprise

Larry Culp, CEO of General Electric

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

GE Healthcare announced on Friday that it is acquiring Swedish start-up Prismatic Sensors AB to strengthen its key medical imaging business.

Prismatic Sensors AB was founded in 2012 as a spin-off from the Royal Institute of Technology at KTH in Stockholm, Sweden. It makes detectors for CT imaging.

GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric, said the startup's technology would give patients sharper images with fewer doses of radiation. It could be a "major step forward" in detecting cancer, heart disease and other diseases, the company said, declining to disclose the terms of the contract.

The company said the acquisition fits in with its mission to help medical workers make more accurate diagnoses and identify diseases earlier.

The technology could potentially be used to detect cancers at an earlier stage, GE Healthcare CEO Kieran Murphy said in an interview with CNBC, adding the company has been involved in the start-up since 2017. "Clinically, this is a big step forward. This is the cutting edge."

"From the first x-ray machines to the first photon counting CT prototype, GE Healthcare is committed to developing next generation technologies to achieve precise health and improve life," he added in a statement.

GE Healthcare is already a leading provider of hospital and laboratory equipment and a growing force in medical records and health software. The company has built its tracks in gene therapy research. In 2019, GE Healthcare received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a new artificial intelligence X-ray machine that the company said would reduce the time it takes to detect a collapsed lung in patients.

The unit had sales of $ 4.5 billion in the third quarter alone.

Murphy told CNBC that the company was "in the eye of the storm" at the start of the coronavirus pandemic this year as it saw high demand for its medical imaging technology to diagnose lung disease due to Covid-19. He also said the company has been heavily involved in increasing fan production, including working with Ford Motor.

"We have done a fantastic job meeting the needs of Covid," Murphy said, adding that he believes the GE Healthcare team emerged to mark the occasion, despite the once-in-a-century pandemic.

In 2018, GE announced plans to separate GE Healthcare into a separate company to double its core industrial and energy businesses. GE eventually decided to keep the unit, but sold the biopharma portion of the business to industrial company Danaher for $ 21.4 billion. GE completed the sale to Danaher in late March.

GE Healthcare expects to complete the acquisition by January.

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