One week before GE Healthcare said it had placed an IN Cell 1000 with the Institut Curie, the company launched two new informatics products related to the IN Cell — the Developer Toolbox image analysis software that allows researchers to "fully customize" image analysis routines, and new algorithms "for a wide range of cellular assays to measure any granule-like or discrete features in multiple wavelengths," according to a company statement.
"The new algorithms are an extension of our existing suite of validated image analysis modules that expand the range and diversity of biological applications that can be analyzed, to include assays such as complex cell cycle and toxicity assays in single and multiplex format," Anne Jones, director of marketing for Cellular Sciences, Lead Discovery, in GE Healthcare's Discovery Systems division, wrote in an e-mail to CBA News.
Regarding the new software and algorithms, "[GE] didn't announce much," according to a long-time former Amersham senior executive who left following the GE Healthcare acquisition, and who asked to remain anonymous because of his current affiliation with a drug-screening tool vendor. "They've had the Developer Toolbox for years, and have been beta-testing and trying to get the thing to work.
"The product is what it is — I don't think it's ever going to change, because they were unable to bring the people from St. Catharine's down to New Jersey," he said, referring to GE's recent closure of the St. Catharine's, Ontario site and associated layoffs. "They also didn't get one person who was a Sunnyvale site employee to go to New Jersey," he added, referring to additional layoffs from GE Healthcare's Sunnyvale, Calif., facility.
According to GE Healthcare, however, the Developer Toolbox has only been in beta-testing in this calendar year, and is indeed a new product release.
"The IN Cell Developer Toolbox has undergone successful beta trials over the past few months but has just been formally released and is a new product," wrote GE Healthcare's Jones in an e-mail.
"Working in conjunction with our sizeable customer base we realized that a need was not being met in the marketplace and in addition to the comprehensive range of validated algorithms offered, there should also be an additional capability given to customers to construct their own analysis routines for specific applications without the need for specialized programming knowledge," Jones wrote.
"IN Cell Developer Toolbox offers this flexibility in the form of a set of tools that customers can use to define their own analysis and output," she added. "Importantly, this toolbox operates in the same environment as the validated algorithms so that the user does not have to learn two very different software packages. Thus the validated algorithms and flexible toolbox complement one another to enable users to analyze the broadest diversity of assays that they can perform."
— Ben Butkus ([email protected])