by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | September 02, 2020
RLS (USA) Inc., (Radioisotope Life Sciences), has acquired GE Healthcare’s U.S. radiopharmacy network.
The deal makes the private group the largest pure molecular imaging-focused firm in the country.
“Completing the sale of our 31 radiopharmacies to RLS will enable the molecular imaging unit of our Pharmaceutical Diagnostics business to focus on its core portfolio of SPECT and PET imaging agents — which help doctors make more informed diagnoses and enable the development of therapies — while continuing to invest in new branded agents,” a GE spokesperson told HCB News.
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The pharmacies of the now privately-owned radiopharmacy network are spread out across 18 states, including its current headquarters in Tampa, Florida. It includes a minority ownership by Perceptive Advisors, a healthcare specialist investment firm in New York worth $7 billion.
Radiopharmacies, however, are only a small part of GE Healthcare’s Pharmaceutical Diagnostics business, which develops and supplies imaging agents to support around 100 million procedures worldwide each year. The operation of the radiopharmacy network is not core to the company’s U.S. business, according to the spokesperson. “We believe that a change in ownership will allow the radiopharmacies, our customers, and patients to benefit from further investment from RLS.”
The radiopharmacies will continue to supply GE Healthcare molecular imaging products as part of a 10-year distribution partnership overseen by RLS. RLS plans to invest $2 billion over the next decade in expanding the footprint of pharmacies, as well as continue to invest in scientific and technological advancements. Nearly five hundred former GE employees across the U.S. have already been integrated into the RLS family.
“We invested considerable effort to ensure a seamless transition precisely because of our service-centric philosophy, including retaining key executive staff, such as chief operations officer Shane Cobb who has more than 30 years of experience in the industry,” said RLS chief investment officer Mr. van Niekerk in a statement. “RLS is committed to delivering lifesaving quality diagnostics and treatment to patients across the nation. To that end, and in light of what we are uncovering regarding the potential long-term effects of organ damage caused by COVID-19, we have instituted a special task force focused on accommodating what could be a surge in demand for specialized diagnostic services.”
The company is expected to relocate its headquarters in the future from the east coast of Florida and is discussing its plans with various economic development councils and municipalities.
No financial details about the deal were disclosed.