GE and the Government of Ontario Establish First Global Digital Pathology Centre of Excellence to Improve Patient Care

New Global Centre Builds on GE's MOU agreement with Ontario Government and GE's $6 billion healthymagination Commitment to Improve Cost, Quality and Access to Healthcare.

TORONTO, Jan. 26 /CNW/ - GE announced an agreement to establish its first Global Pathology Imaging Centre of Excellence in Toronto, Ontario.   GE and its digital pathology joint venture, Omnyx™, will invest $7.75M along with a $2.25M grant from the Health Technology Commercialization Program created by HTX (Health Technology Exchange) and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.  Planned collaborative research and development partnerships will bring an additional $7.2M, for a total investment of $17.2M over the next 3 years.

Today's announcement 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.  The Centre's creation will drive research and development, create 15 new innovation-related jobs and facilitate global collaboration. 

"Today's announcement is an excellent example of how business and government can partner to develop innovative technologies that address Ontario healthcare challenges while having applicability to patient care globally," noted Elyse Allan, President & CEO, GE Canada.

"The Centre of Excellence is expected to create best practices and develop digital technologies to address critical issues including access to pathologists regardless of where a patient or specialist is located, confidence in pathology services, improved turnaround times and greater collaboration among specialists," said Peter Robertson, Vice President & General Manager of GE Healthcare, Canada. 

GE's breakthrough technology extends beyond slide digitization to enable pathology departments to improve the efficiency of the entire pathology process including better communication and collaboration, which could help enhance the quality of patient care. The new centre will open in spring 2011. 

QUOTES

"The Omnyx joint venture was inspired in 2008 by a ground-breaking discovery at GE's Global Research Center.  The breakthrough technology is part of our global $6 billion healthymagination initiative to improve cost, quality and access in healthcare.  Our partnership with the Ontario government has facilitated today's investment." 

John Rice, Vice Chairman, President & CEO, Global Growth & Operations, GE

"This innovative technology will improve health care for Ontarians by ensuring diagnoses are accurate, consistent and delivered as quickly as possible. It will also help position Ontario as one of the world's top imaging clusters, attracting new companies in the field and creating high-paying jobs." 

Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation

"This demonstrates the level of innovation and health care excellence available here in Ontario.  Our government congratulates GE Healthcare for establishing this critical Centre of Excellence.  Our Memorandum of Understanding with GE continues to pay off with new investments and new jobs. This latest announcement is a major step forward in health care for people in Ontario and around the world."

Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

"The Centre is a perfect example of how HTX funding can facilitate medtech investment and job growth to Ontario.  This project not only supports the transformation of pathology in Ontario, it will also export those innovations to the global market and be a platform for additional medtech company creation in Ontario."

John Soloninka, President & CEO, HTX, the Health Technology Exchange

"Omnyx is exclusively focused on digital pathology innovation.  The centre is a significant financial and technical commitment by Omnyx to the future of this technology.   Ontario and its world renowned healthcare and research institutions represent like-minded partners for the development of pathology imaging and computer aided diagnostics innovations and best practices that can enhance patient care and reduce costs - not only benefiting citizens of Ontario, but those throughout the world."

Rajiv Enand, Senior Vice President Business Development, Omnyx 

"Digitizing pathology is the next big step for pathology - it's critical in revolutionizing the practice.  As a pioneer in the field of digital pathology, Canada has the opportunity to lead the world in digital pathology technology and care.  We look forward to defining projects with the centre to advance the use of digital pathology."

Dr. Sylvia Asa, pathologist-in-chief and medical director at University Health Network

"A new innovative digital pathology solution is crucial in providing better care for cancer patients.  GE's investment in a Global Pathology Imaging Centre of Excellence in Ontario is a great win for Canada and has the potential to revolutionize pathology and the delivery of healthcare."

Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

"A collaborative digital pathology solution has the ability to transform patient care for Canadians and give pathologists across the country, regardless of their location, the ability to collaborate and improve the workflow needed for improved patient diagnosis."

Dr. Martin Yaffe, Associate Director, Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization (CiMTec)

QUICK FACTS

  • There is a shortage of pathologists in Canada. Today, there is a need for an additional 370 pathologists.  By 2020 the country will need an additional 820 pathologists.
  • An aging and growing population has been linked to a rising incidence of cancer increasing the need for timely access to pathology.
  • Pathologists are handling workloads greater than the recommended benchmark established by the Canadian Association of Pathologists

About GE
GE is Imagination at Work - a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.

In Canada, GE has operations across the country, including major manufacturing, sales and service locations with 8,000 employees.

About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit www.gehealthcare.com

About healthymagination
Healthymagination is GE's $6 billion commitment that was launched in May 2009. Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality and efficiency around the world. For more information, visit: www.healthymagination.com

About Omnyx
Omnyx, LLC is a joint venture of GE Healthcare and The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with locations in Pittsburgh, PA and Piscataway, NJ. The company is developing an enterprise platform to transform the scope of pathology to an all-digital workflow. Omnyx will sell its digital pathology platform to clinical labs and offer an enterprise software platform for image management, workflow automation, image analysis algorithms and system integration along with its high speed whole-slide scanners. Close collaboration with pathologists at UPMC and other institutions along with their relationship with GE Healthcare allows Omnyx to focus its innovation on the needs of anatomic pathologists worldwide. Omnyx digital pathology products are currently in development and have not yet been cleared by the US FDA or licensed by Health Canada.

About HTX
From Invention through to Innovation to International Invoice, HTX supports emerging and established Ontario-based companies to develop, produce and commercialize innovative market-leading advanced health technologies. HTX is funded by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Research and Innovation. For more information about the Health Technology Commercialization Program, please visit www.htx.ca. HTX is a member of the Ontario Network of Excellence www.oneinnovation.ca


SOURCE GENERAL ELECTRIC CANADA INC.

For further information:

Media Contacts:
Sarah Triantafillou, Communications & PR Manager, GE Canada (905) 301-3815 sarah.triantafillou@ge.com

Kim Warburton, VP, Communications & Public Affairs GE Canada (416) 561-8316 Kim.warburton@ge.com

Tony Melanson, VP, Marketing & Strategy, Omnyx, LLC (857) 272-1321 Tony.melanson@omnyx.com

Marcelle Mundle, Marketing & Communications Manager, HTX, The Health Technology Exchange (647) 258-0381 x223 mmundle@htx.ca

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GENERAL ELECTRIC CANADA INC.

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GE Healthcare

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