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GE Healthcare vet to lead Israeli devicemaker

GE also invests in InSightec, which makes a focused ultrasound surgical tool
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GE Healthcare ($GE), a longtime investor in Israel's InSightec, recently strengthened its hold on the maker of a focused ultrasound device through its role in a recently completed $30.9 million venture financing round and two crucial new appointments to the company's leadership.

InSightec's board of directors appointed James Davis--an 11-year veteran of GE Healthcare who most recently ran GE's MRI business and has served as an InSightec director--as its new CEO. What's more, the board named Tom Gentile, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Systems, as its new chairman. Additionally, InSightec's recently completed funding round shows that GE wants to own the technology completely at some point. As of February 2012, GE Healthcare already held a nearly 65% stake in Insightec, which makes MRI-guided ultrasound designed to heat and destroy fibroids and tumors (among other targets). That influence becomes even larger through its $27.6 million contribution to the total Series C round. (The difference came from other investors, which in the past have included Elbit Imaging ($EMITF) and MediTech Advisors.)

Back in October, InSightec won FDA approval to use its ExAblate MRI-guided focused ultrasound device to treat pain from bone metastases in patients who don't respond to or can't withstand radiation treatment for their pain. Since 2004, the device has been used under a wide FDA approval as a noninvasive outpatient treatment for uterine fibroids. Earlier in December, the company's ExAblate Neuro won a European CE mark to treat neurological disorders in the brain including Parkinson's disease, neuropathic pain and tremors. The device uses MRI to both plan and guide the therapy itself, which deploys targeted acoustic ultrasound waves to destroy tissue or nerves, the company explains.

Postinvestment plans will also lead to new U.S. commercial offices for InSightec in Wisconsin (where Davis is based and GE Healthcare maintains a large presence), though R&D operations will continue in Israel. Meanwhile, founder and now-ex-CEO Jackob Vortman will become the company's chief technology officer.

- read the release
- here's recent Globes coverage

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InSightec scores $13.75M from GE