General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) has invested in colon cancer imaging capsule developer Check-Cap Ltd. through GE healthymagination Fund, and equity fund of GE Capital and GE Healthcare. This is the fund's first investment in Israel.
Check-Cap's ingestible and disposable imaging capsule is planned to have the capability to image the colon in 3D. The capsule will require no bowel cleansing before ingestion and no hospital visit, allowing patients to go about their daily routines without having to alter their activities. The company, founded by CTO Dr. Yoav Kimchy, is based in the Druze town of Isfiyeh, outside Haifa on Mount Carmel.
As part of a broader collaboration, Check-Cap and GE Healthcare have signed a cooperation agreement, under which GE Healthcare-Israel will develop, design and produce miniature Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) diagnostic imaging sensors for Check-Cap's capsule, which will enable clinicians to obtain full 360-degree imaging as the capsule travels in the colon. GE has years of experience in the area of CZT-based detectors and similar technologies have been used in GE Healthcare's nuclear medicine and bone densitometry systems.
Check-Cap plans to launch its imaging capsule in the EU in late 2013, subject to CE Mark regulatory approval. The company also is in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about clinical activities to support approval to market the product in the US.
GE Healthcare CTO Mike Harsh said, "Check-Cap's technology is not only innovative but it presents great promise to change the standard of patient care and to help them avoid the discomfort of traditional colonoscopies."
"Over the past 15 years GE Healthcare has benefited from Israel's spirit of innovation and scientific discoveries," said GE Global Research--Israel Technology Center manager Oded Meirav. "Seeking partnerships between a global company such as GE and Israeli high-tech companies like Check-Cap can truly be a win-win for all."
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and the second in women, killing 608,000 people a year worldwide, 8% of all cancer deaths, and fourth most common cause of death from cancer. Almost 60% of the cases occur in developed regions. In the US, colorectal cancer is the third most common and the second leading cause of cancer death.
Check-Cap CEO Guy Neev said, "GE's investment is an acknowledgement of the patient need we are addressing as well as the clinical promise of our technology… Our goal is to reduce patient mortality by facilitating dramatically increased patient adherence with the physician screening recommendations, allowing earlier detection and treatment."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 1, 2012
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