In preparation for USCAP next week, we have put together an update on the digital pathology (DP) partnership analysis that was conducted last August. Over the past 6 months, 30 companies/institutions (denoted with a star in the graphic) have participated in >20 new partnerships/collaborations, with ~50% geared towards increasing software and/or hardware integration. We have touched on some of these select partnerships below, as well as expanded on some additional analysis that was conducted.
1. Company size corresponds with number of partnerships, link thickness corresponds with recency of the partnership (thicker lines are more recent; partnerships for which a year could not be established are set at minimum thickness).
2. Partnership activity was pulled from company websites and press releases and is based on publicly available information. Research collaborations that have resulted in pubs/conference abstracts but that have not been publicized as partnerships may not be included. Partnerships announced or referenced in the last five years were prioritized; older partnerships may be missing. Not all partnerships may be active and ongoing. Diagram is not exhaustive of all digital pathology partnerships.
3. Many companies have offerings spanning multiple product categories; the primary or most comprehensive product offering was used for node shading.
4. Incubators, accelerators, research groups, and investors were excluded.
5. There are additional pathology companies that have been excluded because they do not have digital pathology offerings. Partnerships with companies that are unrelated to digital pathology have been excluded
6. Research consortia were generally excluded unless there were multiple industry participants.
7. Some other partnerships that have been excluded due to our criteria, but are of note include Reveal Biosciences partnering with Quantumcyte, Akoya partnering with Nikon, Crestoptics, and Andor, Owkin partnering with Arkhn, Roche Diagnostics partnering with Sonrai Analytics and QUB, Scorpio partnering with Beckman Coulter, Corista partnering with Elsevier, the One Dorset Pathology Network, big picture research consortia, Tribun Health and Cannon Medical, and pathLAKE selecting Ibex to provide AI solutions
8. Olympus has rebranded its life sciences division as Evident; Clarapath acquired Crosscope in Feb. 2023
9. PathAI announced their AISight Early access program with 13 participating pathology labs on the morning of publication (March 9, 2023)
In Q4 2022, Indica Labs entered agreements with Hamamatsu and Leica to ensure interoperability of Indica’s image analysis tools with their scanners/file formats. Visiopharm and DeepBio partnered to make DeepBio’s prostate cancer algorithm available on Visiopharm’s platform, one of more than 10 interoperability partnerships across the two companies. Outside of scanner / IA software integration, there has been a push to integrate DP analytics tools with multiplex spatial-omics companies (I.e., Nucleai and Lunaphore, and Visiopharm and Nanostring) in order to make sense of the highly complex data that is generated.
Paige had a number of new partnerships announced in Q4 2022/ Q1 2023, namely with Optrascan, UMC Utrecht, Microsoft, and Nuance. These partnerships will serve multiple use cases, including workflow interoperability and clinical research enablement. On the pharma side of things, Ibex announced a collaboration with AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo to develop a HER2 scoring product, spurred by their recent HER2-low drug approval. Proscia announced partnerships with PathGroup and Agilent, to facilitate broader access (both in centralized and decentralized settings) to their Concentriq platform. Lastly, though not a partnership per se, Inspirata (who had the highest number of partnerships in the original post) was acquired by Fujifilm (hence the logo change), alluding to the strategic value of these partnerships.
These partnerships are the latest in a multi-year upward trend in partnership activity in the digital pathology space (with a slight dip in 2020, likely due to COVID19). 2023 is on pace to equal the number of partnership announcements in 2022, with additional press releases expected to come out of USCAP next week. Looking ahead to the rest of 2023 and beyond, we expect there to be increasing consolidation of the space, with the most fruitful partnerships leading to acquisitions (as evidenced by Fujifilm and Inspirata). It is to be seen whether these acquisitions will be dominated by enterprise imaging companies or whether diagnostic, DP hardware, or DP analytics companies will make moves as well.
- Some partnerships may span multiple categories; the most specific and/or fitting category was selected in these cases
Finally, we conducted some additional analysis looking at the types of partnerships that have been formed since 2019. Software/hardware integration is far and away the most popular type of partnership (~40% of all partnerships) and has been every year since 2019. Because the tools that make up a digital pathology workflow require such distinct skill sets to develop, this will likely continue in the near term. However, open slide/image management platforms, such as Proscia Concentriq and Roche uPath, that work with most scanners, LIS, and cloud providers, may reduce the need for distinct interoperability partnerships in the future. Partnerships geared towards clinical adoption of DP tools (e.g., reference labs and AMCs partnering with DP companies to implement the platforms in clinical practice) have increased in number each year since 2019, which is indicative of the growing use of these tools in routine care. At this point, most of the largest reference labs in the U.S. have implemented at least partially digital workflows (with plans to expand use) and most AMCs in the U.S. and EU have at least one scanner in-house (though the percentage of slides scanned is often quite low). Research-oriented partnerships, including those to establish research consortia, facilitate access to clinical datasets, algorithm co-development, and biomarker discovery peaked in 2022 as well. These partnerships are helping to develop and validate the next generation of AI tools, which will continue to push DP from a nice-to-have to a must-have.
We will continue tracking these partnerships over the next 6 months (and beyond), keeping an eye on which collaborations may be the most impactful in facilitating widespread clinical adoption of the tools. Additionally, we will be diving deeper into the market in our Digital Pathology Market Report, which will be published in the coming months (click here to sign up for early access). In this report, we will expand on key trends and leading competitors, as well as quantify the size of the biopharma and clinical markets. Additionally, we will be assessing, at a granular level, the rate of adoption of the DP tools globally.
Please reach out if we are missing your partnership and let us know if you will be attending USCAP!