Philips to open new center of excellence in Cleveland

November 05, 2018
by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter
Royal Philips is boosting its presence in Cleveland with a just-announced establishment of a new R&D center of excellence and headquarters for its Computed Tomography and Advanced Molecular Imaging (CT/AMI) business there. Plans call for a launch in 2019's first quarter.

The move will see the center, which will employ about 175 people, housed in Cleveland's ultramodern Pinecrest development – now under construction.

“Our focus on innovation and customer centricity is paying off, as exemplified by the success of our high-performance Vereos Digital PET/CT system, which simplifies the clinical decision-making process through a fast, more confident path to cancer treatment. I am convinced that our new CT/AMI R&D center of excellence and renewed customer services center in Cleveland will be vital for our future success,” Philips business leader of Diagnostic Imaging, Kees Wesdorp, said in a statement.

In February, Philips announced that it was happy to keep investing in the Cleveland site.

“Philips' deep and rich background in CT and PET physics and image reconstruction is centered in Cleveland and will be an ongoing key differentiator for our products going forward,” Rob Cascella, chief business leader of the diagnosis and treatment businesses at Philips, told HCB News. “Cleveland's proximity to key universities has been a solid feeder for innovation and talent supporting our R&D objectives.”

To keep up with training demands both technical and clinical, the existing Philips Cleveland facility is getting a major overhaul – to boost training for both global customers and field agents. To handle the refocus, Philips will shutter manufacturing in the plant Q1 2019.

“This was a business-driven decision,” said Cascella. “This is part of our strategic road map to drive profitable growth of our Diagnostic Imaging business.”

Since 2016, Philips has renewed 70 percent of its Diagnostic Imaging portfolio and gained market share in the U.S. and China. That growth is also attributed to improvements made in customer services and advanced informatics.

“We are convinced that with these investments and fine-tuning of our global footprint, we can take advantage of existing efficiencies to accelerate innovation, while further enhancing our customer services,” said Cascella.

Philips showed its commitment to cutting edge R&D in late 2017, when it teamed up with Nuance Communications Inc. to implement artificial intelligence-based tools to enhance imaging interpretation and reporting capabilities for radiologists.

The two are combining the capabilities of Philips Illumeo with adaptive intelligence and Nuance PowerScribe 360 platform to reduce discrepancies and improve radiology reporting, accuracy and standardization.

“Philips is taking the approach of developing adaptive intelligence, in this case with Illumeo, to augment the expertise of the radiologist,” Yair Briman, business leader of health care informatics for Philips, told HCB News. “This direction serves to meet the overall goals of health care. It also serves the stated goals of the ACR’s newly launched Data Science Institute, which will work with industry partners and regulators to define the value of AI and spur its adoption in clinical practice, and improve diagnostic consistency and clinical outcomes.”

Karen Holzberger, vice president and general manager of diagnostics business with Nuance Healthcare, said the combination will optimize report findings and put in place a workflow that reduces redundant steps, thereby saving time and improving accuracy.

“This is going to be the first of what we believe [will be] thousands and thousands of algorithms coming from industry leaders like Philips, because there’s so much data available,” said Holzberger, adding that, "it’s about the development of AI, accepting AI and putting it into practical workflow for the radiologist to be able to adopt them each and every day.”

Integration of the products is currently underway with releases of specialized, high-volume workflows expected sometime in 2018. The project will initially focus on algorithms for lung cancer treatment but will eventually expand to those in other areas of medicine, such as pulmonary embolisms and liver lesions.