Thursday, June 5, 2008

How to interpret GE's and UPMC's entry into the nascent digital pathology market?

The long-anticipated move by GE Healthcare has finally taken place. GE has partnered with UPMC to develop a digital pathology total solution. The venture is called Omnyx ( and is funded to the tune of $40MM. That amount of money is almost as much as the funding that Aperio Technologies has accumulated since its founding.

This is exciting news, especially as it may affect the current players and the market. Gene Cartwright, Omnyx's CEO, compared GE and Aperio Technologies in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as follows: "Aperio is a nice little company, and it's the current market leader," Cartwright said. "But GE is a software company, and Aperio just can't keep up with the high scan through-put customers need."

DMetrix's perspective on this has to do with the last part of that quotation. We have long focused on high-throughput imaging. Our current products can already scan a glass slide in less than 60 seconds and sustain throughputs on the order of 40 slides/hour. GE's and UPMC's entry into this market validates the promise of digital pathology further but it also confirms that emphasis on speed of image capture will be a key differentiating feature among slide scanners. GE's prototype scanner, assuming that it is similar to that presented at APIII 2006 in Vancouver, relies on a specialized design, rather than an adaptation of a conventional microscope. Here, too, DMetrix's innovative approach centered on the array-microscope concept is validated.

We will be blogging further from the upcoming CAP Futurescape meeting taking place this weekend in Chicago. With talks by Omnyx senior management, this promises to be a very interesting meeting.