General Electric in Biotech Deal

General Electric ( GE) and Celera Genomics ( CRA) are teaming up to target cancer.

Celera Genomics and Diagnostics, a partnership between Celera and Applied Biosystems ( ABI), and GE will work on a research project to speed up the discovery of targeted cancer drugs and identify potential patients for treatment.

In reaction to news of the agreement, Celera shares got the biggest pop, rising 60 cents, or 5.6%, to $11.40, while GE shares rose 2 cents, or 0.1%, to $32.19. Applied Biosciences fell 14 cents, or 0.7%, to $20.11.

The first project for the companies will be to help GE discover imaging agents, or specialized chemicals that can identify proteins that Celera has associated with cancer. Under the agreement, GE will have exclusive access to certain Celera protein targets to make its imaging agents and can create new agreements down the road to include more protein targets as needed.

Protein targets are a potentially important breakthrough in the fight against cancer, allowing doctors the chance to identify at-risk patients earlier in the process and then tailor treatments using specific molecules designed to work more effectively. By targeting the areas where cancer starts, less testing is needed to see if a drug is effective on a cancer-causing area.

"We share GE's commitment to the earlier detection and treatment of disease. Coupling new in vitro diagnostics with in vivo imaging and targeted therapies should dramatically improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease," said Kathy Ordonez, Celera's president. "This collaboration complements our internal and partnered therapeutic programs, positioning us to make breakthrough discoveries and to convert them into products."

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