June 5, 2008 - GE Healthcare and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) today announced the formation of a new company, Omnyx LLC, to improve the speed, efficiency of diagnosis and interpretation of lab results.
The new joint company 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 more than 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' 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 the electronic medical record.
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 experience in digital X-ray imaging to overcome major 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.
GE and UPMC appointed Gene Cartwright, a 26-year healthcare veteran and former president of GE Healthcare's molecular diagnostics, as chief executive officer of Omnyx.
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 and 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.