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Blackford Analysis, one of the leading strategic imaging Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform and solutions provider, today announced its acquisition by Bayer, a global life science company.

Spun out from the University of Edinburgh in 2010 and still headquartered in the city, Blackford has a presence in the UK and US focused on providing healthcare providers with tailored tools and services to unlock the value of medical imaging AI, driving efficiencies and improving patient outcomes.

Following the acquisition, Blackford will continue to operate as an independent organisation on an arm’s-length basis to preserve its entrepreneurial culture. It will remain headquartered in Scotland and no changes are expected to the management and staff.

The company will remain accountable to advance its technology, channel partnerships and clinical application portfolio while benefiting from the experience, infrastructure and reach of Bayer as a global pharmaceutical company. The acquisition is expected to close later this year, pending the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Blackford has a number of strategic partnerships with blue-chip companies as well as innovative medical imaging AI providers to develop and commercialise technology and sells to international markets. The team’s expertise and success to date were important factors in Bayer’s acquisition, bolstering its position in the space.

In 2020, Blackford and Bayer collaborated through a development and licence agreement that laid the foundation for Bayer’s recently launched medical imaging platform, Calantic™ Digital Solutions.

The overall global medical imaging AI sector is expected to continue growing dynamically, reaching $1.36 billion by 2026.[1] Innovation powered by AI is needed more than ever to help combat the increased demand for medical imaging to detect diseases and to guide optimised patient treatment pathways.

Blackford founder and CEO, Ben Panter, said: “Blackford exists to improve the lives of patients and populations by unlocking the adoption and benefits of medical imaging AI and we explored a number of funding options to expand the company to deliver this mission.”

“Bayer’s offer allows us freedom to continue to deliver that mission as an independent, arms-length company along with all the strength and support of an experienced life science partner.”

“I’m extremely proud of everything our team has achieved and look forward to continuing to expand our partnerships across the industry.”

“I’d like to acknowledge our investors’ unwavering support over the last twelve years, and I’m delighted to be returning value that can be reinvested in the next generation of entrepreneurial companies in Scotland.”

Blackford has been supported by strategic investors in Scottish health-tech companies, including the world’s longest continually operating angel syndicate, Archangels, as well as the University of Edinburgh’s venture investment fund, Old College Capital, Scottish Enterprise, Thairm Bio, and Tricapital. Archangels has provided £6m of patient capital investment to support Blackford’s growth since 2012.