News Feature | March 16, 2017

GE Healthcare Expands Digital Offerings With Maternal-Infant Monitoring Acquisition

By Suzanne Hodsden

GE Healthcare has acquired UK-based fetal monitoring company Monica Healthcare for an undisclosed amount. GE has distributed Monica’s Novii Patch System — a wireless, single-use maternal and fetal heart rate monitor — since the device’s 2015 launch, and executive leadership from both companies expects the deal to expand GE’s digital product offering while providing a global infrastructure for Monica technology.

Monica Healthcare’s advanced electrophysiological technology and wireless devices are based on over 25 years of research, spun out of the University of Nottingham in 2005. The company’s rapid growth over the past decade has served 100,000 patients over 1000 sites across Europe, Asia, and North America, according to the company website.

In 2015, Monica launched the Novii Wireless patch system, a peel-and-stick patch that can monitor fetal and maternal heart rates, as well as uterine activity in patients with a higher body mass index (BMI). Data is collected, analyzed, and wirelessly transmitted via Bluetooth to a fetal monitor, a feature that allows patients greater mobility during childbirth.

“At GE Healthcare, we are committed to improving the healthcare experience across care areas, including childbirth,” said Tammy Noll, GM of GE Healthcare’s Maternal-Infant Care Division, in a press release. “Through this acquisition, we will combine the incredible expertise and mobile-digital innovation from the Monica team with GE Healthcare’s longstanding industry leadership and customer focus—all with the goal of bettering maternal and infant care for parents worldwide.”

Nick Wright, CEO of Catapult Ventures, an early investor in Monica Healthcare, told Businessdesk that GE and Monica are “perfect partners” to help Monica grow to its next stage. Monica Healthcare CEO Carl Barnatt said in a statement that the deal is a “fantastic opportunity” that will combine his company’s digital offerings with GE’s global infrastructure to “provide even stronger capabilities and solutions to companies around the world.”

The global market for fetal and neonatal care equipment currently is valued at $6.7 billion and is expected to expand by nearly 8 percent by 2025, according to a recent report by Grandview Research. Major market drivers include higher birthrates in developing economies, paired with a higher prevalence of pre-term births. The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations (UN), and local governments have targeted infant survival rates through initiatives that are  also expected to drive demand for advanced monitoring technology.

GE Healthcare recently launched its first healthcare accelerator, aimed at supporting medtech startups, and has invested an initial $50 million to fund nascent, value-based technology designed specifically for emerging markets. Promising technologies will join GE’s portfolio of Sustainable Healthcare Solutions and the larger GE innovation Network.