Response to News about GE-UPMC Venture

| June 9, 2008

In the past couple of weeks there has been a bevy of news – a successful shuttle launch, phoenix martian landing at incredible speed with images at incredible resolution already being returned, BHO in, HRC out (officially), stocks down, pump prices up and the usual mention of weather related fires, floods, power outages, tornadoes and on a solemn note, nearly 4100 American deaths in Iraq as of this posting.

Congrats are due to Detroit for bringing back Lord Stanley’s Cup and Chicago for getting one of 4 bids to be host city for 2016 Olympic games.  Our first chance to see a triple crown winner in 30 years was quickly dashed by the second turn and less steroids.  The Cubs and Sox remain in first place with nice division leads and winning streaks – Subway Series? The green and white and purple and gold of 2 storied NBA franchises return to your DLP HD TIVO for the first time since any of those were brought to market.

Of course the biggest news pertinent to this blog was the long anticipated announcement of a university joining with a division of GE to form a new digital pathology company called Omnyx, LLC. 

It was a matter of time before large health IT vendors entered this space.  I heard rumors of this as early as a year ago.  What I think is most interesting is the entrance into development of pathology PACS systems with this collaboration.  Look for others like Siemens and Philips to follow with exisiting whole slide vendors and start ups of their own.  There are a lot of interesting pieces to this:

  • Academia joining with industry for a joint venture in what GE estimates is a $2 billion market to expand upon digital pathology and GE’s footprint into healthcare
  • GE and UPMC feel they can reap $500 million of revenue – about 25 percent of the worldwide market in about 7 years (or less – depending on the source you read)
  • Appointment of Gene Cartwright as CEO of the new company, a 26-year healthcare veteran and former president of GE Healthcare’s molecular diagnostics division
  • Mention of sub-minute scan times on the order of 15 – 30 seconds
  • Mention of earlier work by Dr. Mike Becich and colleagues at UPMC, longtime leaders in the fields of pathology informatics, telepathology and virtual microscopy

My google alerts and news feeds continue to forward the story from no fewer than 50 local Pittsburgh sources, national TV and print media including CNN, CBS, MSNBC, WSJ, NYT and technology/healthcare IT online sites.  Officials from UPMC including their president, spokesperson and pathology chairman, CAP president Dr. Jared Schwartz, industry analysts, Aperio’s CEO, UPMC spokesperson, Dr. Mike Feldman, director of pathology informatics at Penn and Dr. Nat Pernick from all gave their perspective.

We all recognize the value of virtual microscopy – it is persistent – slides can be viewed from anywhere; it is consistent – same slide, same time, no loss or degradation of image versus tissue or slides themselves; it is efficient.

Future posts reviewing the recent CAP Futurescape II meeting in Chicago this past weekend will touch on these in more detail but the progress appears to be as leaders involved with this have predicted would occur and the excitement continues for digital pathology.

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

Comments (1)

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  1. Ian Furst says:

    Just found your site through DrWes. Fantastic stuff. I didn’t realize that digital pathology had come this far already. I’ve linked you over at my site All the best. Ian.