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General Electric Co., the world's biggest medical imaging equipment maker, has formed a venture with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to put pathologists' tissue-biopsy slides into digital form and develop a ``virtual microscope.'' Omnyx LLC will be owned 50-50 by GE and UPMC in the first such ownership deal with an academic research institution. Forming Omnyx fits in with GE's push to find new ways to commercialize research from GE's development center, which helped create the system. The system makes images small enough to store and transmit. Omnyx hopes to tap what it sees as a $2 billion market over the next several years. The device scans slides in 30 to 40 seconds and allows the image to be viewed by multiple doctors simultaneously, saving time and avoiding errors. Omnyx must get U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the system.