GE Healthcare, a division of the $150-billion General Electric Company, has entered into a strategic alliance with Manipal Health Systems (MHS) to conduct clinical studies of its diagnostic products in India.
The trials will be conducted at the Bangalore-based Manipal Hospital, where GE Healthcare has set up the world's first integrated development centre (IDC) with its equipment bought by the hospital for $7 million and invested another $1.5-2 million for setting up the infrastructure facility.
"The IDC in Bangalore will conduct about 1,000 scans annually, as part of our planned clinical trials and will be a part of a series of global multi-country clinical studies in the US, European Union and other countries, where more IDCs will be strategically located," Dan Peters, GE Healthcare president and CEO for medical diagnostics, told reporters here Thursday.
The information generated from the Indian IDC will be combined with data from other centres globally and contribute towards the development of new contrast and molecular imaging agents or new indications for existing agents.
The GE equipment for the clinical studies includes LightSpeed VCT, Discovery STe 16-slice PET/CT scanner, Dual Head Gamma with CT and TwinSpeed High Definition Magnetic Resonance (HDMR) imaging system.
"The IDC at Manipal will play a crucial role in our global clinical research programme and support our vision of 'early health' by helping to bring new diagnostic imaging agents to market and working to address serious unmet medical needs in oncology, neurology and cardiology," Peters said.
The collaboration envisages Manipal physicians to act as study investigators of GE Healthcare for providing clinical and imaging services and administration. The alliance will benefit local patients in having access to the most advanced medical diagnostic technology.
"The clinical studies in India will be a key part of our global strategy. We want to use our abilities in biology and engineering to develop novel imaging agents that will provide molecular diagnostic options for physicians and their patients," Peters pointed out.
The Healthcare division also plans to tap into the resources of the GE global research facility (Jack Welch technology centre) located in Bangalore and the expertise of its global medical diagnostics team here.
According to V. Raja, GE Healthcare president and CEO for South Asia, the company has chosen India for setting its first IDC as the country has rich research and development capability, skilled medical professionals and advanced medical infrastructure.
MHS director and CEO R. Basil said the first studies would focus on Visipaque, an isosmolar contrast agent, used in X-ray and computer tomography (CT) procedures.
"Contrast agents are used during medical diagnostic procedures to provide image enhancement of tissues and organs. Future studies will be extended to cover the hospital's entire diagnostic imaging portfolio," Basil said.
The $15-billion GE Healthcare division provides transformational medical technologies and services for new age patient care. Its expertise in medical imaging and IT, diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery and bio-pharma manufacturing technologies help clinicians the world over to predict, diagnose, inform and treat disease.
(Source: IANS News)