Key findings from life sciences digital pathology adoption survey 

Nearly three-fourths of life sciences organisations surveyed have invested in digital pathology to advance drug research and development (R&D), according to new research commissioned by Proscia. Over half of these organisations (53%) still center their operations around legacy software systems primarily for basic image viewing despite growing adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate the introduction of breakthrough therapeutics. 

The “2023 Life Sciences Digital Pathology Adoption Survey” asked 40 senior executives from top pharmaceutical companies and leading contract research organisations (CROs) about their use of digital pathology, the benefits it has delivered, and its future impacts. The results collectively indicate a growing need to unify teams, applications, including AI, and pathology data with a modern software platform that drives all stages of R&D across the connected enterprise.  

Specific findings include: 

1. Executives see digital pathology as a solution to R&D’s biggest challenges 

The average drug takes 10 to 15 years and costs $2.6 billion to introduce to patients. It follows that improving collaboration, which leads to added efficiency and eliminates the cost of shipping glass slides among today’s increasingly distributed research teams, and streamlining operations were cited as the top two reasons for going digital (83% of respondents). More generally, 80% of respondents see digital pathology as a means of overcoming lengthy timelines, and 68% view the technology as a way to cut costs.  

2. AI is already powering drug discovery and development 

82% of respondents that use digital pathology have begun to implement AI. Among them, 87% leverage image analysis applications to unlock new insights, and 65% have deployed process automation solutions that drive quality and efficiency by reducing mundane tasks. All other current digital pathology users surveyed have plans to adopt AI. Combined, these findings highlight an intensifying need for an enterprise pathology platform that incorporates a broad portfolio of AI applications into routine operations. 

3. Digital pathology is opening up a new data opportunity 

55% of respondents indicated that creating data assets is a key driver of their digital pathology investment. As pathology data informs every drug brought to market and each whole slide image contains over 1 billion pixels that can shape future breakthroughs, pharmaceutical leaders recognise the potential of this new source of real-world data and should now consider how to fully incorporate it into their workflows. 

“Our survey confirms that digital pathology has earned its place on the C-suite agenda across life sciences organisations,” said David West, Proscia’s CEO. “These executives see its promise and must now grow their implementations to realise its full potential today and in the future with modern software. As they do, we anticipate that the enterprise pathology platform will establish itself as a new standard for bringing innovative therapies to patients.” 

The “2023 Life Sciences Digital Pathology Adoption Survey” was conducted by Atheneum on Proscia’s behalf. To read all of the findings, access the full report here. 

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