GE offers $100M challenge, $1B in R&D cash for new cancer tech

GE knows how to make a splash. This morning it was making waves in the cancer diagnostics field with its plan to join hands with four leading life sciences venture funds to offer a $100 million global challenge to developers of advanced cancer diagnostics, a $1 billion plan to beef up R&D investments in cancer detection and treatment over the next 5 years and a "super database" billed as a central repository on clinical, pathology, therapy and outcomes data that can help drive new products.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a well-known admirer of disruptive technologies, Venrock Associates, Mohr Davidow Ventures and MPM Capital will put up half of the $100 million, with GE contributing the rest. They plan to initially target breast cancer diagnostics with a special focus on personalized treatments.

"We envision a day when cancer is no longer a deadly disease," said Jeff Immelt, the CEO and chairman of GE. "When you add our cutting edge cancer detection technologies to the innovative ideas of our new partners, it's a powerful formula for tackling cancer and helping doctors and researchers improve care."

GE's big initiative includes seed funding for academics, who stand to earn $100,000 of support for their work. And the tech giant and its VC partners rounded up a blue ribbon committee that includes former U.S. FDA Commissioner and National Cancer Institute Director Dr. Andrew Von Eschenbach to help parcel out the cash.

- here's the GE release
- see the Bloomberg report