Olympus America Inc. has signed a nonexclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Omnyx, LLC, a joint venture of GE Healthcare and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, allowing Omnyx to access an extensive portfolio of Olympus America patents in the field of virtual microscopy and digital pathology, to help develop solutions in the digital pathology field. The agreement helps clear the path for future imaging and data handling technologies that may one day facilitate the way doctors review and manage millions of biopsy slides and other pathology specimens now handled using glass slides and traditional optical microscopes.
The patents involved in the licensing agreement cover software and technology related to creating, storing and delivering virtual microscopy images. Virtual microscope slides enable professionals to review biopsies and other pathology images without handling traditional glass slides, and allow doctors to share high-resolution digital microscope images over the Internet for remote pathology consultation.
"Making these patented technologies and approaches available is very important to us," said F. Mark Gumz, President and CEO of Olympus Corporation of the Americas, the parent company of Olympus America Inc. "Allowing Omnyx to license these patents will help advance the field of pathology and may ultimately contribute to better healthcare for people around the world."
"Omnyx is pleased with the licensing of the Olympus patents," said Gene Cartwright, CEO of Omnyx. "This license will provide confidence to future Omnyx customers who want to know their investments in digital pathology are stable and secure."
According to a 2010 report published by Laboratory Economics, $13.2 billion was spent in anatomic pathology testing in the U.S. during 2008. The patented technologies can help deliver valuable images to doctors, streamline the review process, improve speed of reporting, save substantial expense, and enhance patient care. Virtual microscope slide technology also has the potential to aid hospitals in moving to comprehensive patient Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems – a transition that is already beginning in some areas of the world.
The specific terms and conditions of the agreement are not being made public by the two companies.