Ventana Medical's Automation Gamble
Ventana hopes to acheive big-time diagnostics success by bringing automation to the overlooked esoteric fields of immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Like its predecessors in other segments of diagnostics, it faces resistance from potential customers who grumble about expensive, closed systems.
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Among diagnostic specialties, anatomic pathology is the last holdout against the digital revolution. Pathologists still detect disease by looking at tissue samples on a glass slide through a microscope, just as they have done for a hundred years. But in the last couple of years, start-up companies have begun to break the bondage of pathologists to slides. Their solution: platforms for digitizing slides so they can be accessed through computer networks by clinicians anywhere in the world. Two start-ups, Aperio and BioImagene, have led the way and now all the big imaging manufacturers, the microscope companies and biomarker developers want in.
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