QinetiQ has formed a partnership with Zi Medical to commercialise two technologies – Pathscore and DrugPrint – that it developed for the healthcare market.

Pathscore is a system for analysing tissue samples in order to grade breast cancer. It is based on defence technologies developed by QinetiQ to analyse image patterns. A standalone system, it produces consistent and reproducible results around the clock and can be used with existing computers, microscopes and cameras. Evaluation shows that its performance is comparable to that of a human pathologist.

The speed and reproducibility of Pathscore's analysis will hasten the diagnosis on which a patient's treatment is based, providing objective prognosis for many of the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. Pathscore also has the potential to reduce hospital costs and ease pressures caused by a worldwide shortage of pathologists.

For its part, DrugPrint is an 'intelligent' sensor which determines the potential for drugs to have adverse side effects. By highlighting compounds which may have adverse side effects before a clinical trial phase, it does away with the need for costly research on drugs that will have no benefit to the patient.

Also based on military techniques for data gathering, processing and analysis, DrugPrint has the capacity to reduce the large investments made by pharmaceutical companies on pre-clinical and clinical drug trials considerably, as well as accelerating significantly the time it takes to develop a new drug.

The agreement marks the first stage in QinetiQ's relationship with Zi Medical. The two companies are already discussing the development of some of QinetiQ's other cancer related technologies.