Several Recent Developments in Digital Pathology from Around the Globe

| August 30, 2014

Many recent several news items to come across the wires in the past few days, including from England, Ireland, Netherlands and China.  See below for several deals related to R&D, molecular pathology, clinical diagnostics, education and brief market analysis of digital pathology in China.  

Pathology Diagnostics Ltd Contributes As Expert Advisor to Groundbreaking MRC Review

The MRC has recently published a thought provoking and comprehensive review of molecular pathology capabilities in the United Kingdom in R&D and healthcare. The UK government and research charities (TSB, MRC, NIHR, CRUK, Arthritis UK) are collectively investing £200 million in the field of molecular pathology via the Stratified Medicine Innovation Platform (SMIP). The aim of the review was to inform funders of the current state of the field and the key areas of deficiency that need to be addressed to ensure that the UK is a world leader in molecular pathology for the development and implementation of companion diagnostics for stratified medicine.

At a workshop and discussion forum for key opinion leaders at the Royal Institution in November 2013, Dr. Madhuri Warren, CEO of Pathology Diagnostics Ltd gave a review of the challenges and opportunities for companion diagnostic development for UK SMEs & the opportunities for digital pathology in healthcare – in a session with industry speakers from Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Philips Healthcare.

The results of the review highlighted three main challenges to the improvement of companion diagnostics research and development and healthcare services lack of a clear development plan for companion diagnostics; a fragmented landscape of capabilities between academia, industry and the NHS; and the growing complexity of multiplexed companion diagnostics tests and platforms.

Pathology Diagnostics Ltd applauds the recommendations, including the development of a clear roadmap for companion diagnostics development in the UK and the development of a skills base in molecular pathology in the UK. The latter is of great importance due to the pathological decline of clinical academic pathologists in the UK and the lack of this skill set in organisations engaged in companion diagnostics development in the UK.

Pathology Diagnostics Ltd ( is committed to the development of these skills in its own staff and, as a result, our team consists of an excellent hub of UK expertise to biotech pharmaceutical and companion diagnostics clients. Pathology Diagnostics Ltd continually strives to be at the forefront of training its staff to be experts in molecular pathology for industry R&D – including companion diagnostics development and are proud to be showcased as industry thought leaders in collaboration with esteemed organisations such as the MRC.

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Dutch deal for Irish digi-pathology firm

Pixcelldata, an Irish developer of digital pathology management and collaboration software has announced a major new deal with Dutch based eX-Path.

EX-Path are global providers of tele-pathology services, founded by renowned pathology expert, Dr. Marius Nap.

The announcement was made in advance of the 26th European Congress of Pathology which is taking placing between August 30th and September 3rd in the ExCel Arena, London where Pixcelldata will demonstrate its innovative solution.

Pixcelldata’s Collibio software, which is an advanced web application for storing, managing, reviewing, and sharing digital pathology images and associated case data, will be used as the collaboration platform for samples.

Founded in 2013, eX-Path specialises in processing and diagnosis of patient tissue samples. A key area for the company is the provision of an Immunohistochemistry (IHC) service support to pathologists located across the globe.

Once the samples have been prepared and analysed, eX-Path provides access to the image-rich pathology data between various locations for the purpose of diagnostics, research and education.

Marius Nap, Head of Pathology and Co-Founder of eX-Path said, “IHC is a powerful tool for pathologists because it gives them the answers to questions that are impossible to solve using other techniques. However, it can be quite a difficult process, particularly for those operating in the developing world where standardised laboratories and lab equipment are not available, or where there is no easy access to costly antibodies. Collibio will allow us to provide whole slide images to pathologists located anywhere in the world thus improving our efficiency and interoperability, not to mention the cost saving benefits that it also provides.”

Alan Hanley, CEO of Pixcelldata said, “We are delighted to work with eX-Path and Dr. Marius Nap. Dr. Nap is a highly-respected pioneer in the field of digital pathology and this partnership will see both of our companies working in tandem for the benefit of our mutual clients, to ensure that they gain the vast improvements available through modern digital imaging solutions.”

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China dominated by handful of vendors offering highly differentiated products, integrated services, and systems in diigital pathology market 

The overall digital pathology market in China is growing rapidly. The digital pathology diagnostic services are expected to grow at a faster pace than digital pathology systems market due to increasing demand in quality healthcare services and outsourced diagnostic services from private and primary healthcare institutions. High-end customers are demanding niche products. The emerging market needs, evolving market dynamics, and competition force partnerships and collaborations between different market segment participants to develop high value-added products and integrated services. The current digital pathology market in China is dominated by a handful of vendors offering highly differentiated products, integrated services, and systems. State-affiliated companies are protected against existing market participants and new entrants. 

Major Class III hospitals, medical universities, research institutions, and government organizations are high-end users of digital pathology systems. Low-end users prefer to adopt locally manufactured systems because they are inexpensive and meet their basic needs and requirements. With continuous government’s support and favorable healthcare policies coupled with the development of the nationwide long-distance telepathology consultation and quality control program, growth in the total digital pathology market is expected in coming years. Progressive implementation of digital pathology systems will affect the developments and growth of adjacent industries such as healthcare information technologies and systems. The field of digital pathology is developing rapidly across China and has created new business opportunities. 

Emerging market segments are increasing to meet new niche demands. A complete digital pathology system consists of whole slide imaging (WSI) scanners, charged coupled device (CCD) camera, optical microscope, computed-aided analytics, image processing software, and other optional components and accessories such as slide feeders and lens filters. Digital pathology services refers to the business of providing pathology services to consumers and end users for both clinical and research purposes. It includes scanning services, repository storages, analysis, and long-distance telepathology consultations. Digital pathology opens new avenues for advanced analytics integration in clinical diagnoses, health screening and research. Understanding local end users’ purchasing behavior, needs and demand is crucial for long term sustainability. Leveraging data analytics in digital pathology improves quality, accuracy and competitiveness of healthcare delivery. New business opportunities in adjacent markets and across industries will emerge along with growing digital pathology adoption. Healthcare Megatrends towards evidence based medicine, personalized heath care and assisted diagnosis is driving digital pathology adoption.

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Category: Anatomic Pathology, Business, Clinical Laboratories, Clinical Pathology, Current Affairs, Device Manufacturers, Digital Pathology News, Education, Grants, Image Analysis, Informatics, International, Medical Research, Pathology News, Science, TeleHealth, Vendor products, Web/Tech, Whole slide

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