John Dineen, CEO of GE Healthcare
New technology for new technology’s sake is an irrelevant pursuit today. In order for innovations to be impactful, they must have pragmatic value and serve a real purpose. That’s according to John Dineen, CEO of GE Healthcare, who spoke to Medtech publication Clinica recently. “We're living in a different economic world, where technologies are going to have to be more productive. It can't be just about taking the technology to the next level.”
Dineen took the opportunity presented by two recent interviews with Clinica and Pharmaceutical Market Europe (PME) to outline his vision for the future of molecular diagnostics and the role it can play for GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences business.
Citing pathology as the perfect example, Dineen insisted there needs to be a much closer relationship between diagnostics and therapy. “For years we've had CTs and MRIs that can help us find the tumour. But these days that's not enough – we need to know what kind of tumour it is; what are the metabolic pathways driving the tumour; and whether it's responding to therapy" said Dineen.
The key here, Dineen insists, is not simply detection, but detection of differentiation in a patient’s response to therapy. He goes on to suggest that if the effectiveness of therapy can be identified early on – even days after administration – more effective decisions can be taken from both a clinical and economic point of view.
Indeed, when speaking to PME, Dineen highlighted that by working more closely together, the biopharma and diagnostics worlds are starting to reap the benefits of determining therapeutic effectiveness early on. “The intersection between the two worlds is really starting to take shape and it’s changing our business and the way we think about it, and it’s changing the way pharma thinks about the diagnostic world.”
Indeed, Dineen cites GE Healthcare’s acquisition of Clarient as a case in point of the benefits that a cooperative alliance between molecular diagnostics and therapeutics can deliver. After acquiring Clarient last year, GE Healthcare has now expanded into in vitro techniques, progressing beyond PET diagnostics to tissue diagnostics, which is hugely significant. After acquiring Clarient last year, GE Healthcare has expanded into in vitro techniques as the company works towards enabling more precise diagnosis and analysis that is “much more granular” at a molecular level.
Speaking to PME, Dineen said: “We’re really trying to diagnose a molecular problem. We have to know whether there is a therapy for a disease, what the therapy is and how it works. We can then ensure our diagnostic is closely coupled with therapeutic capability. That’s a sea change in the diagnostic world – a sea change for people like us.”
Note: The example of a cost effective MRI system on Pharmaceutical Market Europe interview, page 2, refers to the Optima MR430s instead of Vscan.