Blog Tag: ultrasound
Acquisition of BK Medical Expands GE Healthcare’s Precision Health Presence
GE Healthcare announced on December 21, 2021, that it has completed the $1.45 billion acquisition of BK Medical from Altaris Capital Partners. According to the press release, the acquisition expands GE Healthcare’s $3 billion ultrasound business from diagnostics into surgical and therapeutic interventions and adds to GE Healthcare’s capability in the fast-growing advanced surgical visualization segment. The acquisition further boosts GE Healthcare’s presence within the field of precision health, which refers to the tailoring of treatments to patients based on their medical histories, genetic makeup, and other factors and has a market that is valued in the tens of billions of dollars based on an article published on GE Healthcare’s website.
BK Medical is a global intraoperative imaging and surgical navigation company headquartered in Boston and Copenhagen. Through its ultrasound technology and software algorithms, BK Medical enables surgeons to make real-time, data-based decisions during surgical procedures, including applications in general surgery, neurosurgery and spine, robotic-assisted surgery, colorectal surgery and urology. BK Medical has more than 650 employees and has protected its technology with more than 136 patent families.
When the deal was first announced in September 2021, GE Healthcare’s President and CEO, Kieran Murphy, emphasized:
Ultrasound today forms an integral part of many care pathways, and BK Medical is a strategic and highly complementary addition to our growing and profitable Ultrasound business. This transaction helps GE Healthcare continue to expand beyond diagnostics into surgical and therapeutic interventions, simplifying decision-making for clinicians and equipping them with greater insights to deliver faster, more personalized care for their patients—representing another step toward delivering precision health.
The acquisition of BK Medical is GE Healthcare’s second acquisition in 2021 within the field of precision health. In May 2021, GE Healthcare announced the acquisition of Zionexa, a company headquartered in France that develops and commercializes in-vivo biomarkers for guiding targeted therapies in oncology.
District Court Awarded Ultrasound Device Maker Verasonics $5.6 Million And World-Wide Injunction In Trade Secret Case
The United States District Court of Western District of Washington entered a judgment in a trade secret case, Verasonics, Inc. v. Alpinion Medical Systems Co., Ltd. (Case No. 2:14-cv-01820-JCC). The district court confirmed the final arbitration award, giving Plaintiff Verasonics, Inc. $5.6 million in damages, including fees and costs, and enjoining Defendant Alpinion Medical Systems Co., Ltd. from using Verasonics’ trade secret, including marketing or selling any devices using the trade secret for five years.
Verasonics, Inc. describes itself as a Kirkland, Washington-based company that specializes in ultrasound devices and technology. In the complaint filed on November 26, 2014, Verasonics alleged that Alpinion, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, showed interest in “licensing, co-development or investment” opportunities with Verasonics starting from 2010. Alpinion allegedly “induced” Verasonics into revealing its trade secrets and confidential information to Alpinion as the two parties entered into a series of Non-Disclosure Agreements (“NDAs”), and lease agreements for Alpinion to lease two research ultrasound systems from Verasonics. The complaint also alleged that Alpinion made a below-market offer to Verasonics, which was rejected, and that Alpinion represented that its interest was in commercial ultrasound products, not in research ultrasound devices.
However, Alpinion later announced its own eCube-12R ultrasound platform specifically designed for the research market. Verasonics sued Alpinion for trade secret misappropriation under the Washington State Uniform Trade Secret Act in addition to breach of contract claims in the Western District of Washington.
In 2015, the case at the district court was stayed pending a binding arbitration at the American Arbitration Association (case name ICDR No. 01-15-0002-9484). The arbitrator found that Alpinion breached the parties’ NDAs and lease agreement, and violoated the Washington Uniform Trade Secret Act. The arbitrator issued a partial final arbitration award of $2.9 million in compensatory damages and a five-year injunction against Alpinion on March 2, 2017. The partial arbitration award was filed under seal and not publicly available. According to Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, the law firm representing Verasonics in this matter, the injunction against marketing and sales of the accused product is worldwide. The arbitrator subsequently issued a final award on June 26, 2017, ordering Alpinion to pay Verasonics another $2.7 million in attorneys’ and arbitration fees and other expenses.
According to a press release made after the partial final award, Lauren Pflugrath, president and CEO of Verasonics, said:
We are grateful for the arbitrator’s decision to issue the Final Award so clearly in our favor. We continue to expand and build positive collaborative partnerships, but must insist on protecting our intellectual property.