by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | September 24, 2021
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.
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“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.