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GE Healthcare Acquiring Zionexa for Access to Breast Cancer PET Imaging Agent

NEW YORK – GE Healthcare on Thursday said it is acquiring Zionexa with the goal of developing and commercializing its pipeline of in vivo biomarkers for enabling personalized cancer treatment.

The acquisition immediately gives GE access to Zionexa's US Food and Drug Administration-approved fluoroestradiol F-18 (Cerianna), a PET imaging agent that can be used in addition to biopsy to determine if breast cancer patients have estrogen receptor (ER)-positive metastatic lesions. Pathologists currently evaluate tumor biopsies to determine breast cancer patients' ER status, however, the presence of these receptors can vary across different cancerous lesions. Fluoroestradiol F-18, when used alongside biopsy, "can widen the diagnostic lens," providing a "whole-body view of ER-positive lesions," GE said in a statement. This information, according to GE, can help oncologists more precisely identify treatments for their metastatic breast cancer patients.

GE intends to leverage its molecular supply chain, R&D, medical affairs, market access, regulatory, and commercial resources to scale access to the PET imaging agent so at least 75 percent of metastatic breast cancer patients in the US have access to it by 2023. Zionexa, headquartered in France, launched fluoroestradiol F-18 commercially in the US in December and has reached only 25 percent of the intended patient population.

"We expect GE Healthcare Pharmaceutical Diagnostics' acquisition to allow Zionexa to accelerate the development of its promising R&D pipeline as well as its commercial footprint, while providing Zionexa's team with access to global and complementary expertise," Olivier Carli, president of Denos, the majority owner of Zionexa, said in a statement.

Although GE didn't release the financial terms of the deal, the company said that it will hire all 24 Zionexa employees in France and the US. GE will also hire 70 new employees within its pharmaceutical diagnostics team in Marlborough, Massachusetts.