GE Healthcare ups molecular diagnostics game

GE Healthcare is upping its game in a bid to develop new, targeted molecular diagnostics.

The U.K.-based division of GE ($GE) has hashed out a licensing deal with Dyax ($DYAX) to develop and commercialize new molecular diagnostic and cancer biomarker technology relating to peptides binding to the c-Met receptor (and will work with universities and pharmaceutical company researchers to get there). The deal also includes application of the peptide technology in PET and SPECT scanning, as well as optical imaging.

Neither side is disclosing financial details, but Dyax gained some money upfront and also stands to make milestone and royalty cash as development progresses.

Marivi Mendizabal, head of research for GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics, explained in a statement that the company wants to develop cancer-related targeted molecular diagnostics both on its own and in conjunction with biopharmaceutical companies. And the c-Met growth factor receptor is an important area, she said, on which to develop targeted and companion diagnostics.

"Growth factor receptors such as c-Met are promising therapeutic targets that could be a critical factor in the development of colorectal, lung and liver oncology drugs," she said.

GE Healthcare has taken a number of recent steps to boost its companion diagnostics efforts. Most recently, the company signed a deal with DiaGenic to collaborate on a blood-based test for Alzheimer's disease.

- here's the release