GE Ventures, NY’s Northwell Health launch bioelectronics alliance

GE Ventures has entered a strategic alliance with the Feinstein Institute, the research arm of New York’s Northwell Health, to advance new bioelectronic therapies and diagnostics for a range of diseases.

Specifically, the alliance will support Feinstein’s Center for Bioelectronic Medicine (CBEM), which is targeting neurodegenerative disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, among others, the healthcare provider said in a statement.

The pair’s new investment will drive basic and applied R&D, clinical development and the “advancement of systems and materials to support the application of new technologies," Northwell Health said in the statement. And as bioelectronic treatments are identified and developed, the CBEM will promote the creation of new companies to commercialize them.

Northwell Health has already poured $75 million into bioelectronics research, according to the statement. The Feinstein Institute has already worked on bioelectronics research with GE scientists at the company’s research center in Niskayuna, New York.

"This alliance deepens and expands the strong collaborative relationship between GE and the Feinstein Institute, and on the tremendous work already accomplished by Dr. Kevin Tracey, Chad Bouton, GE scientists and other leaders in the field," said GE Ventures CEO Sue Siegel in the statement.

The Feinstein Institute has a number of existing partnerships, with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Karolinska Institutet and Battelle. Most notably, it is working with GlaxoSmithKline-backed SetPoint Medical, which aims to treat patients with inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s, using bioelectronic devices. In July, Feinstein, SetPoint and the University of Amsterdam published data from a 17-patient trial showing that a neuromodulation device implanted on the vagus nerve eased symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Meanwhile, GSK said last June that it hoped to start testing its own bioelectronic device in 2019, with plans to bring one to market in the next decade. And in August, the Big Pharma announced Galvani, a $715 million bioelectronics joint venture with Verily, helmed by Kris Famm, GSK's VP of bioelectronics R&D.