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Innovation creates a giant in anatomic pathology

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Diapath offers a complete catalogue of technical products used in anatomic pathology; in 99% of cases, the situation relates to a suspected cancer-related illness. “We produce every type of instrument that the market requires,” underlines COO Alberto Battistel. “We supply not only the equipment itself, but all the associated reagents and consumables.”

Histological investigations are very delicate and sensitive, and must be completely accurate; the outcome is often life-changing for the patient concerned, and each one has to be treated as an individual. “Two patients with the same form of cancer cannot necessarily be treated with the same medical therapy,” explains Mr. Battistel. “The most appropriate treatment is determined by examination of tissue samples, which must be dealt with very carefully; if the sample is not professionally handled, a lot of important biological information can be lost on the way to the laboratory.”

Diapath produces over 100 instruments, divided into eight product groups. Key products include the tissue processor Donatello 2, Ottix reagents, and a safe capsule for transporting histological samples. Everything is produced in-house and the company employs skilled and experienced mechanical and electrical engineers and software developers.

“We operate in a very niche market,” admits Mr. Battistel. “All our components are produced by suppliers in Italy and Germany. Many of our competitors have tried manufacturing their products in China; I believe this is a decision which many now regret, and are looking to reverse. With such delicate instruments, product testing and quality control is an absolutely vital step, and we have the know-how and experience here in Italy to carry this out effectively.”

Compared to other players in the market, Diapath is relatively small, yet its quest for constant innovation means that it is a giant in anatomical pathology, and already the market leader in Italy; it also has a presence in China, Turkey, Peru, Chile and the US, as well as France and Germany.

Alberto Battistel
Product testing and quality control is a vital step, and we have the know-how to carry this out eff ectively Alberto BattistelCOO

While in Italy the firm deals with laboratories and hospitals direct, products are sold overseas via a network of around 60 distributors. Over the coming years, Mr. Battistel expects that Diapath will increase its activities worldwide “We will need to adapt our business model, but I firmly believe this is a direction that we need to take,” he points out.

Although Diapath is today a renowned manufacturer, this was not always the case. Founded in 1997, the company originally operated as a very successful distributor of international brands. When one of the products that produced its highest revenues was taken over by another company, Diapath decided to develop its own-brand portfolio.

“We began manufacturing around ten years ago,” says the COO. “It was a huge investment and a complete change of strategy. The transition wasn’t easy; a pure distributor that moves into manufacturing has to change absolutely every aspect of the company. The past ten years have been incredibly busy, and every year marked a milestone in some way.”

One of Diapath’s projects was recently selected by the EU for its financing programme, which promises to further raise the company’s profile and reputation. “75 projects were chosen from across the whole of Europe, three of them were in Italy,” points out Mr. Battistel proudly.

There is no doubt that the market for anatomical pathology instruments is increasing. Unhealthy lifestyles are leading to a rise in the incidence of cancer. In some countries, there are no diagnostic instruments of any kind. “We have a distinct advantage over our larger competitors; they have many interests, whereas we concentrate exclusively on pathology instruments and the associated consumables,” the COO says. “I believe there is real potential for growth.” The company is already raising its profile through attendance at 60 or so trade fairs around the world, among them the European Congress of Pathology, American pathology congress USCAP, the SLAP in South America, and Medlab in Dubai.

“We are a family concern and we put everything into our work,” concludes Mr. Battistel, who joined Diapath ten years ago. “It is this passion which drives us. Innovation is key – annually around 8% of our turnover is invested in R&D – and we think long term. As an employer, we are extremely attractive and we receive a lot of enquiries. I work with a fantastic team. We work hard and the results are amazing. For me, it is incredibly motivating to see people grow professionally and, of course, the whole company reaps the rewards.”

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