GE Healthcare to acquire Issaquah’s Applied Precision

May 10, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Tony Kreipe, an applications scientist at Applied Precision in Issaquah, confirms the light path alignment, resolution and contrast specifications on one of the company’s Delta Vision Elite with TruLight optical microscopes. By Greg Farrar

GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Co., announced plans April 28 to acquire Issaquah-based Applied Precision, a biomedical imaging systems company and local innovator.

The acquisition is meant to allow GE Healthcare to offer additional products and services for pharmaceutical and life science research. The companies said the agreement should offer significant long-term customer benefits. The parties did not disclose the financial terms of the sale.

GE Healthcare plans to retain the Applied Precision facility in Issaquah — 50,000 square feet along 12th Avenue Northwest in the business district. Applied Precision employs about 130 people in Issaquah. If regulators approve the deal, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of the year.

Applied Precision develops and manufactures high-resolution and super-resolution microscopy instruments featuring software and data visualization tools to allow scientists to gather detailed information about cells’ structure and behavior.

The company supplies high-end and high-tech microscopes and other equipment to pharmaceutical giants, medical research institutes and universities, including the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

“We are very excited to become part of GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences team,” Applied Precision CEO Joe Victor said in a statement. “The worldwide resources of GE Healthcare will allow us to significantly widen our reach into new markets and provide a stronger support network for our existing customers. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to jointly develop new technologies, products and applications for life sciences research. The entire Applied Precision team looks forward to joining GE.”

The companies said Applied Precision’s technologies complement GE Healthcare’s IN Cell Analyzer Systems. The technology is used in many areas of cell biology, including drug discovery and biomarker research.

GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of Connecticut-based GE, is headquartered in Little Chalfont, United Kingdom.

“Applied Precision is a company with a strong reputation for innovation and is a great strategic fit with our cell technologies business,” Kieran Murphy, GE Healthcare Life Sciences president and CEO, said in a statement. “The combination of GE Healthcare’s expertise in cell science together with the great talent of the team at Applied Precision will help us drive development of new technologies and create an extensive offering across the full spectrum of cell biology research.”

Applied Precision originated on Mercer Island about 25 years ago, as the founders sought to deploy precision-control technology into the semiconductor field. The company relocated to Issaquah in the late 1990s.

Then, the team started dabbling in the life sciences field. The business sold the semiconductor business to a New Jersey company in December 2007.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders singled out Applied Precision in the recent Innovation in Issaquah contest — a campaign to highlight leaders in numerous fields.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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