GE and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Launch New Business to Digitize and Revolutionize Disease Detection

| June 5, 2008

GE Press Release

5 June 2008
New Company to Transition One Healthcare’s Last Manual Diagnostic Process Into the Digital Age

BARRINGTON, Ill. & PITTSBURGH–June 5, 2008–GE Healthcare, a division of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) today announced the formation of a new company to improve the speed, efficiency of diagnosis and interpretation of lab results.

The new joint company, called Omnyx, LLC, will bring to market digital solutions to shape a new age of patient care and apply those solutions to a science that has relied on glass slides and microscopes for over 125 years. Omnyx is the first company in GE’s history to be formed with an academic medical center and represents an aim to accelerate ideas to market through enhanced co-development.

Omnyx’s digital platform will seek to enable clinicians to share images virtually, interpret results using advanced algorithms and reduce costs associated with diagnosis. The benefit to patients could include reducing medical errors, improved turnaround time for lab results and integrating pathology information as part of his or her electronic medical record.

GE and UPMC have appointed Gene Cartwright, a 26-year healthcare veteran and former president of GE Healthcare’s molecular diagnostics, as Chief Executive Officer of Omnyx. “This new company will revolutionize patient care and expand GE vision for Early Health – the ability to diagnose disease at the earliest possible stage, which in turn can lead to more effective treatment and monitoring,” said Cartwright. “Digitizing pathology will allow Omnyx to provide doctors with better tools for the full care continuum, enhancing their decision-making capabilities in key disease areas.”

GE researchers including biologists, applied physicists, visualization scientists, mechanical and electrical engineers, high-performance computer scientists and optical engineers worked for three years to develop the first prototype systems. The research team applied GE’s extensive experience in digital x-ray imaging to overcome what appeared to be insurmountable barriers for a mainstream product: image quality and speed of scanning slides. Building on early developments in GE’s Global Research Center, Omnyx will unite UPMC’s pioneering developments in digital pathology with GE’s technology to create a viable solution for high-volume clinical use.

“Digital pathology provides a platform for the creation of new tools that will help pathologists screen large numbers of slides in search of a small nest of cells or a few bacteria to quickly and accurately diagnose disease,” said George K. Michalopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh and pathologist at UPMC.

This innovative collaboration with GE will help to address the critical cost and quality issues facing healthcare today,” said Jeffrey Romoff, President and Chief Executive Officer, UPMC. “The formation of Omnyx underscores UPMC’s strategy of leveraging its medical, technology and research expertise to create solutions that benefit patients worldwide. At the same time, this new, Pittsburgh-based company will contribute to the continuing revitalization of the economy of western Pennsylvania.”

Operating as an independent company, with financial support from both GE and UPMC, Omnyx, will be governed by an executive board, including Mark Little, Senior Vice President and Director of GE’s Global Research Center; Vishal Wanchoo, President & CEO, GE Healthcare IT; Dan Drawbaugh, Chief Information Officer, UPMC; Stephen Boochever, Executive Vice President, UPMC’s International and Commercial Services Division.

Omnyx will be located at a new headquarters in Pittsburgh, with additional offices in Piscataway, NJ and other GE Healthcare facilities. Omnyx recently launched its presence online at http://www.omnyxpath.com

This investment is part of UPMC’s strategy to commercialize its health care, technology and management expertise for the benefit of patients throughout its global health network. UPMC formed a joint development partnership two years ago with GE, which led to the creation of Omnyx. The state of Pennsylvania is providing Omnyx with $180,000 to support the creation of at least 40 high-technology jobs within the company over the next three years.

About the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)

UPMC is an integrated global health enterprise headquartered in Pittsburgh and one of the leading non-profit health systems in the United States. As western Pennsylvania’s largest employer, with 48,000 employees and nearly $7 billion in revenue, UPMC is transforming the economy of the region into one based on medicine, research, and technology. By integrating 20 hospitals, 400 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, long-term care facilities, and a major insurance plan, UPMC has advanced the quality and efficiency of health care and developed internationally renowned programs in transplantation, cancer, neurosurgery, psychiatry, orthopaedics, and sports medicine, among others. UPMC is commercializing its medical and technological expertise by nurturing new companies, developing strategic business relationships with some of the world’s leading multinational corporations and expanding into international markets, including Italy, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Qatar. For more information about UPMC, visit www.upmc.com.

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, performance improvement, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies is helping clinicians around the world re-imagine new ways to predict, diagnose, inform, treat, and monitor disease, so patients can live their lives to the fullest.

GE Healthcare’s broad range of products and services enable healthcare providers to better diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases, and other conditions earlier. Our vision for the future is to enable a new "early health" model of care focused on earlier diagnosis, pre-symptomatic disease detection, and disease prevention. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a $17-billion unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 46,000 people committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our Web site at www.gehealthcare.com.


Category: Business, Digital Pathology News, Vendor products, Whole slide

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