GE Healthcare will acquire BK Medical for $1.45 billion

GE Healthcare to acquire surgical navigation company BK Medical for $1.45 billion

September 24, 2021
by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter
GE Healthcare is set to acquire BK Medical, a developer of surgical navigation technology, from Altaris Capital Partners in a cash transaction of $1.45 billion.

Used to guide clinicians during minimally invasive and robotic surgeries, the addition of BK Medical’s technology is expected to extend the use of GE’s ultrasound systems from diagnostic units to tools for surgical and intraoperative procedures, such as for neuro and abdominal surgery, as well as for ultrasound urology.

"We really cover the ultrasound space with diagnosis. With this field that BK specializes in, we are also looking into covering the surgical benefits, guiding therapeutics, in particular surgeons, better with use of ultrasound," GE Healthcare Ultrasound president and CEO Roland Rott told HCB News.

“This transaction helps GE Healthcare continue to expand beyond diagnostics into surgical and therapeutic interventions, simplifying decision-making for clinicians and equipping them with greater insights to deliver faster, more personalized care for their patients — representing another step toward delivering precision health,” said GE Healthcare president and CEO Kieran Murphy in a statement.

BK Medical's Active Imaging platform is designed for general surgery and neurosurgery and spinal procedures. It is equipped with algorithms that allow for uniform image resolution in intraoperative ultrasound, as well as showing greater details around the borders of lesions and at larger depths. It also enhances penetration, spatial resolution and near field image quality. Its design includes an adjustable monitor, on-demand videos for surgeons and OR staff, a simple and customizable UI for creating profiles tailored to specific user needs, and control options for managing images in the sterile field.

BK Medical has more than 650 employees at its bases in Boston and Copenhagen and has double-digit revenue growth. Pairing GE’s technology and commercial reach is expected to expand its imaging platform to new customers and markets worldwide. GE Healthcare expects BK Medical to bring in more revenue, scale-up margins, and free cash flow, as well as reach high-single-digit return on invested capital five years after the deal is completed.

Both companies expect that combining their technologies will help clinicians make better decisions across the entire care continuum, from diagnosis to therapy and after. "By applying ultrasound in the field of surgery, we can give surgeons a tool that allows them to really see how effective they are in performing a certain procedure," said Rott.

He adds that the company plans to make BK Medical's technologies available on GE's Edison platform, which incorporates existing workflows and applications to integrate and assimilate data from disparate sources, as well as leverage analytics and advanced algorithms to generate clinical, operational, and financial insights. "That not only gives advantages on the workflow side to connect these devices or data flows better, but we can add AI capabilities, which we have implemented in our other modalities," said Rott.

GE Healthcare recently unveiled a new point-of-care ultrasound system to its portfolio back in March, Venue Fit, which is designed to fit into tight spaces and provide quick insights. For its Venue Go and Venue ultrasound systems, it also launched an industry-first AI tool for cardiac scanning, RealTime EF, which continuously calculates the heart’s real-time ejection fraction during live scanning with an integrated quality indicator.

Just last month, the company struck a deal with Koios Medical that will see the integration of Koios’ DS Breast AI technology on GE’s Invenia ABUS 2.0 automated whole breast ultrasound scanning system for early breast cancer detection. The system is the only FDA-approved ultrasound supplemental breast screening technology specifically designed for detecting cancer in dense breast tissue.

The deal with BK Medical is expected to close in 2022 and is subject to review by relevant regulatory authorities.