Pharmaceutical giant Bayer has agreed to acquire Blackford Analysis, a strategic imaging AI provider to radiology labs that's worked alongside Bayer previously.
The deal will not officially close until later this year. Blackford will retain its operational structure and international customer base, but is expected to benefit from Bayer's pharmaceutical sector reach to foster further growth, as well as supporting the corporate's internal R&D efforts.
Led by its CEO and former University of Edinburgh research fellow Ben Panter, Blackford Analysis assists radiology clinics and developers of clinical radiology products by building bespoke imaging AI tools to augment their practices.
The company operates an imaging AI marketplace where clinical labs can access third-party products to accelerate medical image aggregation and annotate relevant literature with scientific knowledge.
Among partnerships, Blackford began collaborating with Leverkusen-HQed Bayer in 2000. The partners signed a licence agreement that helped spawn Bayer's recently commercialised clinical medical imaging tool, Calantic Digital Solutions. Blackford has also carved out a market presence in the US, in addition to European operations from its UK headquarters.
Bayer decided on an acquisition to further strengthen its radiology portfolio, according to Stefan Oelrich, one of the corporate's board members, though Blackford's HQ in the Scottish capital will retain autonomy once the deal closes, operating under an "arm's-length" management structure to protect its "entrepreneurial culture."
Oelrich said: "We are pleased to join forces with Blackford and their exceptional team to optimally utilise our combined expertise in healthcare technology with the aim to deliver true value to radiologists and their teams for the benefit of their patients.
"Adding Blackford and its AI technology to our radiology portfolio secures Bayer an excellent position in the fastest growing segment within the overall global radiology industry.”
Founded in 2009, Blackford had secured more than a decade's runway from several backers from Scotland's health tech scene, including University of Edinburgh's venture unit Old College Capital, angel syndicates Archangels and Tricapital, and the public business development board Scottish Enterprise. Other backers included the early-stage life science investor Thairm Bio.