New Imaging Products Power GE’s Healthcare Strength

Amanda Pedersen 1

July 25, 2017

3 Min Read
New Imaging Products Power GE’s Healthcare Strength

GE reported a rather dim financial quarter overall, but the company's healthcare segment produced plenty of sparks, powered by new product launches in mammography and CT, as well as strong growth of orders for healthcare systems.

GE's overall sales during the second quarter slipped 11.8% year-over-year to $29.56 billion, but product launches in mammography and CT powered strong sales in the conglomerate's healthcare business. GE Healthcare sales came in at $4.70 billion for the quarter, a 3.9% growth from Q2 2016.

Jeff Bornstein, the company's vice chairman and CFO, said healthcare orders of $5 billion grew 3%, and 4% organically during the quarter. During the company's earnings call, Bornstein said ultrasound systems orders were up 8% and imaging products grew 4%, and that mammography and CT were particularly strong because of new product launches.

The company launched several imaging products at the tail end of the first quarter, which likely had a bigger impact on GE's results in the second quarter than in the first. In March, for example, the company introduced CardioGraphe, which it dubbed the world's first dedicated cardiovascular CT system.

GE partnered with Arineta in 2010 with the intent to bring a dedicated CT system to market, and that partnership resulted in the CardioGraphe, which debuted at this year's American College of Cardiology meeting. The system is designed to make noninvasive cardiovascular imaging more affordable in a traditional hospital setting and accessible for the first time in a chest pain emergency department, physician office, or point-of-care setting for treatment planning of vascular interventions. The system creates a 3D image of the coronaries, valves, chambers, and myocardium in one heartbeat and can also perform CT angiography studies beyond the heart, including the aorta and carotids.

GE Healthcare has also released a number of new contrast media and imaging agents recently, including a product called Clariscan. Clariscan is a gadolinium-based contrast agent designed to support effective visualization of abnormalities in the brain, spine, and associated tissues. According to Emmanual Ligner, general manager of Core Imaging for GE Healthcare Life Sciences, gadolinium-based agents offer improved contrast between normal and pathological tissue to enable rapid detection of abnormalities, and these agents are considered a gold-standard detection tool in MRI.

GE is seeing an impact from healthcare reform uncertainty in the U.S. market though. Bornstein pointed to this uncertainty as an explanation for the company's flat Life Care Solutions business.

The company is going through a leadership transition, with CEO Jeff Immelt retiring at the end of this month, and John Flannery will take the reins as the new chairman and CEO on Aug. 1.

"We've always tried to be respectful, transparent, and honest in this process," Immelt said as he wrapped up his final GE earnings call. "I'm looking across the table at Jeff Bornstein, he's got a six-inch binder. He knows every fact and everything to do with the company. And I feel great about John Flannery and what he is going to do with the company going forward."

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