With two $100 million-plus financings this year, investment in digital pathology is surging, largely driven by the technology’s potential to identify tissue-based biomarkers for precision medicine. But initial use cases are limited and clinical uptake of the technology by hospitals and reference labs has been slow. What will impel them to adopt this technology to a greater extent? By Rachel Laing, Sophie Peltre, and Marie Kerisit, Bionest Partners, and Mark Ratner.
The hardware for digitizing pathology slides began to emerge in the early 2010s.Some early user interest existed, mostly within the life sciences/research community:the area was first developed in Europe by Definiens, which the MedImmune unit of drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC acquired in 2014 for $150 million to aid in the identification of biomarkers in tumor tissue.Prior to the emergence of the cloud and development of increased computing power in the last five years, however, the notion of introducing digital pathology at scale was fraught.