February 8, 2012, Updated September 11, 2012

General Electric is investing in Israeli start-up, Check-Cap — a developer of an ingestible imaging capsule that may help detect colorectal cancer. The investment is being made through the GE healthymagination Fund, an equity fund that makes investments in highly promising healthcare technology companies.

In the past, General Electric bought well-established companies and factories in Israel, but this is its first investment in a startup company in Israel.

“Check-Cap’s technology is not only innovative but it presents great promise to change the standard of patient care and to help them avoid the discomfort of traditional colonoscopies,” said GE Vice President & GE Healthcare Chief Technology Officer Mike Harsh.

Check-Cap’s largest shareholder is the Pontifax fund. The company was founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Dr. Yoav Kimchy.

Similar to Given Imaging’s Pillcam, the Check-Cap capsule can diagnose tumors from within a patient’s body.

The two Israeli innovations differ in that Pillcam uses light to make images and Check-Cap’s ingestible capsule will use X-ray based imaging.

Check-Cap also says its disposable capsule will require no bowel cleansing before ingestion and no hospital visit, allowing patients to go about their daily routines without having to alter their activities.

Check-Cap plans to introduce its ingestible imaging capsule in the European Union in late 2013, subject to CE Mark regulatory approval. The company is in discussions with the United States Food & Drug Administration concerning appropriate clinical activities to support approval to market the product in the US.

“We are pleased to have GE be a new investor and collaborator,” said Guy Neev, Chief Executive Officer of Check-Cap. “GE’s investment is an acknowledgement of the patient need we are addressing as well as the clinical promise of our technology. Colon cancer is the most deadly, preventable cancer that patients currently experience. Our goal is to reduce patient mortality by facilitating dramatically increased patient adherence with the physician screening recommendations, allowing earlier detection and treatment. GE’s experience in the imaging space will be a significant contribution to our efforts as we progress in our clinical and regulatory program towards commercialization.”

In related news, Check-Cap announced plans to raise $20-25 million in a private placement with the support of Citigroup. The funding is in addition to the investment by GE.

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