COVID-19 Is Positive and Negative for Digital Pathology

Our latest report finds that digital pathology market is 710 million in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic, while disrupting healthcare in general, also provides a selling point as many pathologists are now at home and need to work digitally. Kalorama Information’s recent study Digital Pathology Markets, 2020-2025, finds a vibrant market that is pushed by the need for faster cancer detection and the enhancements that IT systems, including artificial intelligence solutions provide.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a surprising impact for histology and digital pathology. The pandemic has curtailed all but the most serious surgeries and cancer treatments. Thus the histology lab is receiving the most difficult of tissue samples to process. There is also a workforce shortage of pathologists, with more pathologists retiring than those entering the field and with physical distancing many pathologists are staying out of the lab. At the same time new rules allow greater use of digital pathology as well as the reading of the test results from remote locations as long as the test was first performed in an authorized CLIA laboratory.

Leica Biosystems is a leader in this space and its products are used in hospital and reference labs, academic medical centers, and biopharma institutions, worldwide. Roche is a top competitor as well. Ten years ago, Roche reinforced its digital pathology business with the acquisition of a competitor that was integrated into Roche’s Ventana Medical business. Roche recently announced the CE-IVD uPath PD-L1 automatic digital pathology for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Applied Spectral Imaging markets PathFusion, a digital pathology solution that combines whole slide imaging, digital FISH analysis and unique digital tissue matching of FISH with H&E/IHC samples. The company reports it has over 3,000 systems installed worldwide.
Visiopharm (Denmark) has been pioneering AI-driven digital precision pathology software since 2001. It works with a number of companies, but the company has recently forged an alliance with Agilent Technologies whereby the companies will co-market Visiopharm’s portfolio of artificial intelligence-driven pathology solutions.

Other companies include Glencoe Systems, Sectra, Epredia and Sunquest. These companies offer a variety of scanner hardware, storage and workflow software solutions and algorithmic based interpretation tools.