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GE Healthcare to invest $40 million into South Carolina MR production

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
GE Healthcare is making a $40 million, 100-job investment in its existing magnet resonance imaging components production operations in Florence County, South Carolina.

The GE move is aimed at solving “some of the toughest challenges in health care, as well as making an impact in our local communities where we live and work,” Florence plant manager Dale Wolf said in a statement.

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“With companies like this one leading South Carolina’s manufacturing industry, there is no doubt that our state is going straight to the top.” added S.C. Governor Henry McMaster.

The expansion will build on the present 500,000-square-foot facility.

The workforce in the county was given credit for the company's decision to build there. Florence County Council Chairman Kent Caudle praised the community's “collaborative spirit and quality workforce.”

“This $40 million investment and the 100 new jobs it means for the Florence facility will make a real difference in the local community,” said South Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh K. Leatherman.

The MR market continues to grow. Valued worldwide at $5.45 billion in 2016, it is expected to hit $7.52 billion by 2021, with North and South America leading the way, according to a February Technavio report.

It is highly competitive for manufacturers, so many have gotten involved in strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. In March, 2016, GE Healthcare partnered with Columbia University Medical Center to advance MR research.

In May, 2016, Siemens Healthineers partnered with Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center to further develop MR Fingerprinting.

PET/MR hybrid imaging systems are becoming more popular as applications in breast and prostate cancer have been developed. A University of Michigan study published in July found that PET/MR improves the accuracy of image-guided prostate biopsies.

Also growing is the market for tele-imaging – of special benefit in remote regions of the globe. Research in this effort is building in both developed and developing countries including the U.S., Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and China.

“The introduction of fully automated, versatile, and easy-to-use imaging systems has led to the significant expansion of teleradiology and tele-imaging in remote areas,” Srinivas Sashidhar, a lead analyst at Technavio, said in a statement.

GE Healthcare has continued to advance the state-of-the-art. In September, 2016, it received FDA clearance for MAGiC, a multi-contrast MR technique developed in partnership with SyntheticMR AB that gives clinicians more data than conventional scans in a fraction of the time.
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