Fostering a culture of innovation in laboratory diagnostics

March 21, 2017

Andy Hay
Sysmex America, Inc.


My career as a medical technologist began in hospital labs in Northwest England where I worked for ten years. After that I left the labs and worked for a lab equipment distributor in the UK. In 1989 I joined Sysmex in a sales role with the Sysmex UK affiliate, and I moved to Sysmex America in 2000. Since then I‘ve held a number of sales, R&D, marketing, and operational positions, and I am presently Executive Vice-President of Product Marketing, Scientific Affairs and Enterprise Training.
I hold a Fellowship in Medical Laboratory Sciences from what is now known as John Moores University in Liverpool, UK. More recently, I graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Wharton.
I have been married for 33 years, and I have two sons. I enjoy being active outdoors including hiking, biking, and rafting. I am also involved in my town and have a special interest in environmental issues and preserving our natural resources.

If you were explaining Sysmex America, Inc., to someone who is not familiar with the organization, how would you characterize its primary areas of expertise? Sysmex is known around the globe for our leading-edge innovation in laboratory diagnostics. In particular, we are known for hematology instrumentation. Here in the United States, our success flows from our products, service, and customer support.

What are the major categories of solutions that the company provides for the clinical lab? Sysmex is a manufacturer and marketer of advanced instrumentation, automation, and IT in the fields of hematology, hemostasis, urinalysis, flow cytometry, immunoassay, and other areas of the life sciences.

Your website says that Sysmex has created “a holistic, intuitive ecosystem that helps improve lab operations and promote better healthcare and patient management practices” for customers. Can you expand on that? Sysmex reshaped hematology diagnostics with our innovative analyzers.  But these advanced tools and technologies were only the beginning. Our next generation diagnostics include our expanded CBC to give the clinician more information about various disease states such as infection. We offer process optimization for the lab to help balance work flow.  In addition, we have our “BeyondCare Team” of associates who offer harmonized support to our customers. We call this entire experience that we offer to the clinical lab, “Beyond a Better Box.”

Sysmex recently announced the launch of the XN-L Series hematology analyzers in Canada. How do these analyzers represent advancements for the hematology lab? Sysmex Canada launched the XN-L Series hematology analyzers late last year, and the Series has already launched in many other parts of the world. The new, smaller XN-L brings Sysmex XN-Series automated hematology systems’ clinical and operational value to lower-volume hematology laboratories. This enables small hospitals and clinics to offer the same leading-edge technology in their labs as larger hospital and reference labs. In February the XN-L Series instruments were cleared for sale in the United States and should be launched before the end of the first half of 2017.

Last year, Sysmex also introduced the CyFlow monoclonal antibodies, for RUO in the U.S. and Canada.  How do these reagents complement Sysmex’s existing flow cytometry product line? Our new line of flow cytometry products is for use in pharmaceutical, industrial, and clinical research. We introduced our CyFlow monoclonal antibodies last summer to complement our existing line of CyFlow Cube and Space flow cytometers and reagents. All our flow cytometry products are for research use only.

Sysmex is also much associated with urinalysis. What is new under the sun with regard to the oldest laboratory test? Urinalysis is a traditionally labor-intensive area of the laboratory. Sysmex is continually developing new products for urinalysis and intends to deliver a degree of automation that will bring efficiencies and improve turnaround times. Sysmex believes it is time for urinalysis to catch up with the rest of the innovation occurring in the lab environment.

Your company’s user base has expanded much in recent years. With success comes greater responsibility; how has Sysmex responded to the challenge and opportunity? Sysmex’s mission is to shape the advancement of healthcare. This is the basis of The Sysmex Way, our corporate philosophy, which is practiced by every associate around the world. We take our mission seriously and spend our energy, resources, and R&D dollars to continue delivering new innovations to laboratories around the globe. In hematology, we will continue to automate and drive precise results, such as with our expanded CBC including immature granulocyte (IG) analysis, immature platelet fraction (IPF), and reticulocyte hemoglobin (RET-He).  All of these innovations and more are designed with patients and our customers in mind.

You joined Sysmex in 1989 and have been with Sysmex America since 2000. How does this longevity with the company serve you in your current role? Over my time with Sysmex, I have been fortunate to meet and learn from many of the finest laboratory hematologists and other pathologists around the world. My roles have been varied, from sales and marketing, from R&D to IT, and from training to operations. All of these collective learnings have helped me establish a breadth and depth of knowledge which I can use today to help Sysmex America continue to deliver leading-edge instruments and assays to our customers, helping them to increase their efficiencies and face financial, logistical, and operational challenges, all while maintaining clinical excellence. Even though we have seen amazing growth in our business, we have always maintained that the patient and the customer come first.

From my time in the lab, I also learned about the human aspect of the patients who are on the receiving end of lab testing, when I used to meet and work with them directly. I never forget that feeling of responsibility, nor do my colleagues at Sysmex. I firmly believe if we continue to innovate and do the right thing for the patients of our customers, then we will continue to bring value and achieve success as a member of the healthcare community.