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Laboratory technology

GE opens worldwide pathology innovation centre in Toronto

TORONTO – GE officially opened its first global “Pathology Innovation Centre of Excellence” (PICOE), located at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. In this new research and development centre, GE will collaborate with its digital pathology joint venture, Omnyx, along with funding partner, HTX (Health Technology Exchange) and numerous clinical partners to create best practices and technologies to address current pathology challenges.

This new centre has the potential to revolutionize pathology through digital innovation. Developing products and processes to increase patient access to skilled pathologists and to empower pathologists with tools for more efficient, consistent and accurate examination will be part of the Centre’s focus.

“PICOE’s opening is one way GE is investing and innovating with collaborators to find new ways to address costs, quality and access barriers to health for individuals and entire healthcare systems,” said Peter Robertson (pictured), Vice President & General Manager of GE Healthcare Canada. “PICOE will create 15 new highly skilled jobs over the next three years and give pathologists and clinical partners the resources to accelerate research and development and testing for new digital pathology solutions.”

By tackling issues of cost, quality and access of pathology services, the Centre is a core component of GE’s healthymagination business strategy. PICOE builds on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) GE signed with the Ontario government in September 2009 to partner and invest long-term within the province.

GE was attracted to Canada because of the expertise and leadership in digital pathology adoption in centres like Toronto, as well as the innovative and collaborative culture. MaRS, a leading innovation centre, serves as an ideal hub for PICOE given its close proximity to hospitals, highly skilled pathologists, clinical partners and academia.

“PICOE is an integral component of our strategy to ensure customers get the full value of their adoption of Digital Pathology,” said Gene Cartwright, CEO of Omnyx. “We are excited to be part of the vibrant community surrounding the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.”

The new 2,150-square foot centre includes a digital lab where GE will conduct training, research and development on Omnyx IDP (Integrated Digital Pathology) platform with clinical collaborators. The lab will house Omnyx’s Pathologist and Histology Workstations, as well as showcase Omnyx’s VL series of high-resolution scanners which will digitize glass slides.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome GE Healthcare to the MaRS Centre. GE is a global innovation leader, and their arrival at MaRS affirms their commitment to Ontario and to furthering collaboration with the outstanding science, tech and social innovators in our ecosystem. This decision is timely, as a number of health innovation initiatives in the MaRS community are showing exceptional promise, offering unique opportunities for collaboration and partnership,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District.

“The opening of PICOE and hiring of staff are exciting initial milestones, and we look forward to watching the Centre develop quickly,” said John Soloninka, President and CEO of HTX – the Health Technology Exchange. “We have already received enquiries about how companies can collaborate with PICOE, and how other Multinational Enterprises can take advantage of the innovation ecosystem that GE has seen in Ontario. This is a very positive step for Ontario medtech commercialization, and one HTX is very pleased to support.”

“The opening of this Centre of Excellence is great news for Ontario; digital pathology will help reduce costs and give Ontarians faster and more accurate diagnoses, regardless of their location,” said Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation. “PICOE will also help position Ontario as one of the world’s top imaging clusters, attracting new companies and creating high-paying jobs.”

Posted June 2, 2011