GE HealthCare, J&J's DePuy Synthes join forces around 3D imaging tech

Since flapping its wings and leaving the General Electric nest at the start of this year, GE HealthCare has devoted much of its energy toward broadening its newly solo horizons.

A newly struck partnership should help do just that: GE HealthCare announced this week that it has teamed up with DePuy Synthes—Johnson & Johnson’s orthopedics and neurosurgery device business—with an aim of getting its 3D imaging technology into the hands of more surgeons across the U.S.

Through their agreement, DePuy will be able to distribute GE HealthCare’s OEC 3D imaging system alongside its own portfolio of surgical tools and technologies. Though the imaging tech can be used across a variety of orthopedic, cardiac and vascular procedures, DePuy will specifically focus on bringing it to doctors who perform complex spinal surgeries, including the small ambulatory surgery centers that are increasingly responsible for many of these procedures.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The OEC 3D system centers around a C-arm-style X-ray scanner. The C-arm’s shape and wheeled platform allow it to be used throughout a hospital and for a variety of procedures. Its inner technology, meanwhile, churns out both 2D and 3D images within minutes, according to GE HealthCare.

Additionally, with its 19-cubic-centimeter volume, the scanner can capture 3D images with 67% greater volume than competing 3D C-arms, its maker claims.

The system integrates with a range of mobile monitors equipped with GE HealthCare’s Volume Viewer software, where surgeons can compare, annotate and analyze 3D scans as they go, speeding up the diagnosis and surgical planning processes. OEC 3D can also connect to surgical navigation and robotics systems to help doctors manage an entire surgery from one place.

“We know that GE HealthCare’s OEC 3D is a game-changer for clinicians today—from its large field of view and open platform to high-quality reconstructed 3D images,” Phil Rackliffe, president and CEO of the company’s image-guided therapies business, said in the announcement.

“Through this new collaboration with DePuy Synthes, we’re excited for the opportunity to bring this technology to more spine practices in acute to outpatient settings knowing OEC 3D provides precise and efficient imaging so that surgeons can stay focused on what matters most, providing quality patient care,” Rackliffe said.

This is only the latest step in GE HealthCare’s rapid-fire expansion plan since spinning out of GE as a standalone public company six months ago.

Much of that growth so far has specifically revolved around its imaging business: Both of its acquisitions to date have targeted imaging companies—artificial intelligence-powered ultrasound developer Caption Health and CT imaging tech maker Imactis—and it has also made plans to launch a joint venture with the medtech arm of China’s Sinopharm to develop and commercialize “non-premium CT and general imaging ultrasound solutions.”