Olympus America Inc. has signed a nonexclusive worldwide licensing agreement with BioImagene, Inc. of Sunnyvale, California, allowing BioImagene to access an extensive portfolio of Olympus patents in the field of digital pathology and virtual microscopy. This is the most recent of several licenses that Olympus has granted for the technologies, which are considered critical for developing future digital imaging and data handling systems for pathology.
Digital pathology technology has the potential to change 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 included in the licensing deal cover methods and equipment for creating, storing and delivering virtual microscopy slides. The technology enables pathologists to view and share high-resolution virtual microscopy images over the Internet.
"The digital pathology field is evolving rapidly," said F. Mark Gumz, President and CEO of Olympus Corporation of the Americas, the parent company of Olympus America Inc., "and allowing other companies in this field like BioImagene to license these important patents will help advance the field of pathology, and ultimately promote better access to healthcare for patients around the world."
"Digital pathology is at an important inflexion point, moving very rapidly towards broad-based adoption. We believe that our relationship with Olympus will be a catalyst for this trend," said Ajit Singh, Ph.D., President and CEO of BioImagene. "Olympus has been a pioneer in this field, and their patent portfolio will complement BioImagene's innovations in end-to-end digital pathology."
In the United States alone, $13.2 billion was spent in anatomic pathology testing during 2008, according to a 2010 Laboratory Economics report. The Olympus portfolio enables development of solutions that can streamline the review of pathology slides and improve the speed of reporting, while saving costs and enhancing 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 parts of the world.
The companies are not making specific terms and conditions of the agreement public.