General Electric

2014 med tech R&D budget: $961 million
Change from 2013 budget ($956 million): 0.5%
Percent of 2014 segment sales ($13.7 billion*): 7%

General Electric ($GE) knows that healthcare is roughly 10% of global GDP, so it's making sure it's getting a bite out of that enormous pie. It's been gaining market share in CT, MR and ultrasound imaging, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said on a January earnings call.

He expects that imaging strength to continue in 2015, particularly in the U.S., as the company continues to roll out new imaging products. He said that hospitals are more comfortable doing long-term planning for major purchases, because they have much more visibility than they have in recent years as U.S. healthcare reform has settled in.

"I see hospital CEOs when I travel the circuit, you just get a lot more positive in terms of their ability to know what the next few years are going to be like to do their planning, to do their growth plans and things like that and that didn't exist let's say 24 months ago," said Immelt on an April earnings call. "So we're guardedly optimistic, but it's too early to call it a trend I would say."

Last fall, former SVP of business development John Flannery took over as president and CEO of GE Healthcare. So, once he gets his bearings we may see more wheeling and dealing out of the conglomerate.

GE Healthcare includes diagnostic imaging systems (MRI, CT, nuclear and molecular imaging as well as digital mammography), surgical imaging products, ultrasound, protein and cellular analysis tools as well as software and analytics.

In a recent letter to shareholders, Immelt called out GE Healthcare as an example of innovation within the company.

Healthcare is "an area where we've been repositioning our business to succeed in a market that is demanding more technology, more flexibility and more tailored solutions," summed up Immelt. "We are confident that all the innovations we are developing--from portable diagnostic tools to analytical offerings and next-gen imaging--are going to be critical growth drivers for the future." -- Stacy Lawrence (email | Twitter)

*Med tech comprises about 75% of GE Healthcare revenues, so this represents only that portion.

For more:
GE to exit financial biz, but will keep VC and healthcare equipment financing arms
GE-backed InSightec gets $59M for noninvasive surgical tool, adds ex-Mako CEO to board
GE promotes biz dev exec to head healthcare
GE Healthcare moves to Boston area, to hire more than 220
GE Healthcare to focus on Africa, charitable arm funds training of med device technicians

General Electric