by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | May 06, 2021
GE Healthcare has acquired Zionexa with the intent to help develop and bring to market its pipeline biomarkers, including its recently FDA-approved PET imaging agent, Cerianna.
Also known as fluoroestradiol F-18, Cerianna is used as an adjunct to biopsy to detect estrogen receptor (ER) positive lesions, and helps provide insights on which treatment plans may be best for a patient with recurrent or metastatic breast cancer. Currently available to a quarter of the relevant patient population, GE’s Pharmaceutical Diagnostics business plans to scale access to the tracer to a minimum of 75% of patients by 2023.
“This acquisition further demonstrates our commitment to enabling precision health and providing innovations that support oncologists, nuclear medicine specialists and other physicians throughout a cancer patient’s journey, from initial screening and diagnosis to informing therapy selection and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment,” said Kevin O’Neill, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Pharmaceutical Diagnostics, in a statement.
ER expression varies both within the primary tumor and across different lesions, making it challenging for oncologists to base clinical decisions on biopsy results that represent only the sampled area of the tumor. FDA-approved in December 2020
, Cerianna provides a whole-body view of ER positive lesions to help determine a more informed diagnosis for the patient, and form potentially more targeted and individualized treatment plans. This spares patients from having to undergo inappropriate or less effective therapies.
“Since we know that ER expression can change with time and treatment, imaging with 18F-fluoroestradiol at critical decision points could help clinicians predict response to endocrine therapy and select optimal treatment timing and sequencing,” said Dr. Hannah Linden, breast medical oncologist at UW Medicine, University of Washington Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
Its distribution earlier this year also made news when the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System published the incorrect reimbursement rate
for the radiopharmaceutical, marking payment as $0.752 per millicurie instead of $608.33 per millicurie.
Under the terms of the agreement, Zionexa will transfer its 24 employees in France and the U.S. to GE Healthcare, which will hire approximately 70 more dedicated employees for its U.S. Pharmaceutical Diagnostics team in Massachusetts.
Financial details were not disclosed.