Blackford has the widest available portfolio of imaging AI solutions (Photo courtesy of Blackford Analysis)
The global medical imaging AI market recorded sales in excess of USD 400 mn in 2021 and is expected to continue growing dynamically, with an estimated CAGR of more than 26% (2020 to 2026) to reach USD 1.36 billion by 2026. There is a huge need for innovation powered by AI as aging populations and changing lifestyles are driving an increase in chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. As a result, the demand for medical imaging for detecting diseases, guiding treatment decisions and supporting therapy planning continues to grow. AI offers a value proposition of aiding diagnosis and increasing the throughput of radiological examinations. Now, a new acquisition aims to drive innovation in radiology, including the development and adoption of AI within the clinical workflow, with the goal to ultimately improve patient care.
Bayer (Leverkusen, Germany) has acquired Blackford Analysis Ltd. (Edinburgh, UK), a global strategic imaging AI platform and solutions provider. The acquisition is part of Bayer's strategy to drive innovation in radiology, including the development and adoption of AI within the clinical workflow, with the goal to ultimately improve patient care and advance the company’s position in digital medical imaging. Blackford provides infrastructure and access to a rich clinical application (ClinApp) ecosystem focused on imaging and analytics. The acquisition follows a development and license agreement between both companies in 2020 that laid the foundation for Bayer’s recently launched medical imaging platform, Calantic Digital Solutions. Building on technology from Blackford and adding additional workflow and analytics components, Calantic Digital Solutions delivers access to applications, including those enabled by AI, for medical imaging.
Blackford will continue to operate as an independent organization on an arm’s length basis to preserve its entrepreneurial culture as an essential pillar for nurturing successful innovation. The company will remain accountable to advance its technology, channel partnerships and ClinApp 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.
“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,” said Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management, Bayer AG and President of Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division. “This acquisition complements our comprehensive radiology portfolio and nourishes our engagement to drive innovation in digital health. We are pleased to join forces with Blackford and their exceptional team to optimally utilize our combined expertise in healthcare technology with the aim to deliver true value to radiologists and their teams for the benefit of their patients.”
“Blackford exists to improve the lives of patients and populations by unlocking the adoption and benefits of medical imaging AI. We investigated many routes to scale our business to deliver our mission and were delighted by Bayer’s invitation to deepen our partnership, whilst continuing to operate independently based on Bayer’s well-established arm’s length model,” said Ben Panter, Chief Executive Officer, Blackford Analysis. “Combining our knowledge and experience as one of the leading platform providers in the industry with Bayer’s advanced radiology portfolio will enable us to provide solutions to deliver ongoing clinical value to radiologists and their teams.”
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