Automating Digital Pathology

DMetrix, Definiens to provide high-throughput image capture and automated analysis

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TUCSON, Ariz. --DMetrix, Inc., the developer of ultra-rapid, array-microscope digital imagingsystems, announced that it has formed a partnership with Definiens AG, Munich, Germany. Their goal is toaccelerate the development of a system that will provide completely automateddigital pathology. The partners will jointly develop connectors for the newsolution, which will enable drug discovery customers to benefit from thecomplete image capture-to-analysis process. The solution includes the DMetrixaward-winning DX-40 array-microscope whole-slide scanner that captures imagesof slides in less than one minute, as well as the Definiens Enterprise ImageIntelligence suite of products.
While the pharmaceutical industry worldwide struggles with ashortage of pathologists, the volume of diagnostic testing for new drugdevelopment has expanded. This expanded workload has increased the need forinnovations that improve productivity and testing accuracy.
"The DMetrix and Definiens partnership provides thefar-reaching results that the industry requires," states Rodger Brown, vicepresident of sales and marketing at DMetrix. "—a high-throughput, quantitativeand objective tool for preclinical research to help speed the developmentprocess for new therapeutics.
"The partnership with Definiens allows us to provide acomprehensive solution to customers wanting to take advantage of the conversionof raw digital pathological data into usable, well-defined scientificinformation," Brown adds. "By combining the leading enterprise image intelligenceplatform and DMetrix's whole slide image capture instrument, we are providingan innovative system that will enhance and expedite the way preclinical studiesare performed.
"Our array-microscope has the ability to capture images muchfaster – typically less than a minute for a standard slide but only 155 secondsfor a whole slide. Other systems require 5 to 50 times longer," Brown notes. "Thedifference in our equipment is the ultra-rapid array lens, which is a singlelens with 80 objectives. Others have to scan a slide in tiles or strips andstitch the tiles or strips together while we do the whole slide in a singlepass. The DMetrix system is also the first and only multi-spectral system toproduce whole slide images in up to 12 colors to provide efficient incremental analysisof multiple proteins on one slide."
The DX-40 also features topographic focus that uses a prescanto identify the topography of the tissue, and then has the ability to roll andpitch – much like an aircraft – based on the topography as it captures theimage, utilizing hundreds of focal points for enhanced image quality.
Definiens' patented Cognition Network technology wasdeveloped by Nobel Laureate, Dr. Gerd Binnig, and serves as the base of theDefiniens eCognition platform. The platform is designed to fulfill imageanalysis demands on every scale, from microscopic cell structures to satelliteimages.
"The partnership with DMetrix brings enormous value to ourexisting and future customers in the pharmaceutical industry by increasingtheir insight into images," says Rene Hermes, Definiens' vice president of marketing.
DMetrix's Brown estimates that the anatomical histologymarket, including reagents as well as equipment, totals about a $2.4 billion inannual sales and may be as large as $3.5 billion per year if the cytology pieceis included. He declined to speculate about the potential sales for the new imagingsystem. "We expect to see a tremendous opportunity for DX-40placement based on the unique features of the system and the partnership withDefiniens for image analysis," Brown concludes.

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