Company News


February 22, 2024

Dr. Marc Romney of St. Paul’s Hospital with Newly Installed Copan WASPLab® Automation


A SERIES OF NEWS ARTICLES HAVE RECENTLY HIGHLIGHTED AN EXCITING MILESTONE FOR COPAN’S CANADIAN OPERATIONS – the first implementation of the company’s WASPLab® and PhenoMATRIX® solutions in Western Canada at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

The new automated workflow is already creating a measurable impact. As highlighted in the article, the technology will soon be processing about 70% of the microbiology specimens that come into the laboratory, freeing up staff capacity and turning results around faster. One physician noted the hours-long reductions in turnaround times could make an immense difference when treating critically ill ICU patients with severe infections.

“We are training [the technology] to be able to interpret culture results and also to sort culture plates for us, making the whole process much more efficient, much more consistent,” said Dr. Marc Romney, Head of Medical Microbiology and Virology at St. Paul’s Hospital. “And the results will be available sooner for patients and for medical teams, thereby optimizing patient care.”

As Dr. Romney’s quote conveys, the optimized specimen processing and built-in AI interpretation are improving consistency, efficiency, and time-to-results while allowing technologists to focus their expertise on more complex tasks.

This transformative automation project was made possible by generous funding from the St. Paul’s Foundation. Their leadership in securing funding to elevate care reflects a commitment to purposeful innovation.

Given the impact on efficiency and turnaround times, planning is already underway to equip the new St. Paul’s Hospital facility with a second WASPLab®  instrument. Slated to open in 2027, this expanded capacity will future-proof their microbiology laboratory to extend automation benefits, especially as patient and community healthcare needs evolve.

St. Paul’s Hospital has always been at the forefront of purposefully adopting emerging technologies to elevate standards of care. Their recent title as the first Western Canadian microbiology laboratory to install Copan’s WASPLab® automation and PhenoMATRIX® clinical decision software continues a proud legacy of innovation stretching back over a century.

By seamlessly integrating these transformative platforms to optimize specimen processing efficiency and consistency, St. Paul’s Hospital upholds their longstanding reputation as pioneers leveraging modern tools in service of patient needs and provider training. Just as the hospital evolved from its 19th century origins by embracing advances early like x-rays and medical imaging, today’s visionary hospital leaders partner with Copan innovation to drive the next generation of diagnostic excellence.

Dr. Romney shows how WASPLab’s AI technology automatically tags colonies for identification and testing.

Delivering Transformative Innovation Through Cross-Functional Collaboration

The implementation of Copan solutions at St. Paul’s Hospital exemplifies an authentic spirit of partnership where customer objectives guide the path forward. Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all stance, Copan’s specialists invested considerable time in order to understand the laboratory’s unique needs and constraints. Together, they co-designed an automation blueprint maximizing efficiency gains without disrupting established sample testing workflows.

The optimization of diagnostic workflows at St. Paul’s Hospital exemplifies how Copan’s strength lies in forging authentic partnerships with customers. We congratulate and thank several individuals who were instrumental in this project’s success:

Dr. Marc Romney, Head of Microbiology and Virology, provided leadership oversight ensuring the new solutions integrated seamlessly with existing clinical systems, always with the goal of optimizing patient care and outcomes.

Willson Jang, Microbiology Team Lead, collaborated on WASPLab design and placement, optimizing bench operations for maximum efficiency.

Jennifer Bilawka drove alignment as Quality Manager for the microbiology laboratory.

As Microbiology Supervisor, Leah Gowland coordinated hands-on staff training, integration of laboratory protocols, and automation adoption.

Jeffrey Taruc, Microbiology Weekend Supervisor, lent his frontline perspective to validate proposed process enhancements.

The commitment of these laboratory leaders was invaluable in co-developing an automation blueprint tailored to St. Paul’s Hospital’s unique needs. Their willingness to innovate exemplifies why this renowned establishment is one of Canada’s most respected medical institutions.

The successful installation of WASPLab®  and PhenoMATRIX® solutions at St. Paul’s Hospital represents remarkable cross-functional teamwork across Copan.

We sincerely thank several Copan colleagues who played instrumental roles:

  • The Field Services Engineering group of Shane Bangari, Nathanial Katzenberg and Colin McLeod handled critical on-site installation and activation.
  • The Laboratory Applications team of Thomas Chen, Jennifer Zemba and Hunter Van Doren ensured smooth integration with the laboratory’s processes and systems. 
  • From the Canadian Sales side, Monica Zeiter and Yasmin Habib were integral in coordinating efforts between Copan and St. Paul’s Hospital while co-developing this pioneering automation solution.

It is through the combined expertise of dedicated individuals like these that Copan brings purposeful innovation to elevate laboratories across the globe. We commend their outstanding collaboration and customer focus in this transformative project.

See some of the news coverage here:


About St. Paul’s Hospital – Providing Outstanding Care for Over a Century

St. Paul’s Hospital is renowned as one of the most technologically advanced and patient-centered hospitals in Canada. Located in downtown Vancouver, this 433-bed facility has been serving acute care, teaching and research needs in British Columbia for 130 years.

While evolving into a global leader across specialty areas – from heart health to HIV treatment, mental health to emergency services – St. Paul’s Hospital has remained anchored by its compassionate care philosophy and dedication to community wellbeing. It aims to continuously elevate its standards through adopting pioneering technologies aligned with patient values.

With construction underway to build a brand-new hospital, opening 2027, St. Paul’s Hospital will transform health care for patients, families and caregivers across British Columbia for generations to come.

As a teaching site of the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, St. Paul’s Hospital also trains new generations of healthcare providers on the latest medical advances to ensure better outcomes for all British Columbians.

This storied establishment’s heritage of melding its ethos of caring with a spirit of innovation made it the perfect home for achieving a new first in laboratory automation for Western Canada.

About Copan Full Laboratory Automation

Copan delivers full laboratory automation innovations spanning specimen sorting, processing, smart incubation, specialized imaging, and AI interpretation to maximize clinical microbiology productivity. Our modular platforms are uniquely customized to each laboratory while enhancing quality, safety, and traceability. At Copan, we believe in harnessing the combined strengths of automation, human intelligence and AI to enhance laboratory workflows and improve patient outcomes. 

Find out more about our groundbreaking  microbiology Automation and AI solutions here