Edinburgh health-tech business to remain in city following takeover by German giant

Blackford Analysis, the Edinburgh-based health-tech business spun out from the University of Edinburgh in 2010, has been acquired by German life sciences giant Bayer.

The capital firm operates in the UK and the US and is focused on providing healthcare providers with “tailored tools and services” to unlock the value of medical imaging artificial intelligence (AI). Following the acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, Blackford will 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.

Blackford has a number of strategic partnerships with blue-chip companies as well as medical imaging AI providers to develop and commercialise technology. The team’s expertise and success to date are said to have been important factors in Bayer’s decision to acquire the business. In 2020, the two firms collaborated through a development and licence agreement that laid the foundation for Bayer’s recently launched medical imaging platform.

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Blackford founder and chief executive 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.”

Blackford has been supported by strategic investors in Scottish health-tech companies, including angel syndicate Archangels, as well as the University of Edinburgh’s venture investment fund Old College Capital, Scottish Enterprise, Thairm Bio, and Tricapital.

Niki McKenzie, joint managing director of Edinburgh-based Archangels, said: “The acquisition of Blackford is excellent news for Ben and his brilliant team who we’ve worked with for over a decade. Blackford’s acquisition by a company of Bayer’s global stature represents a major success story for Archangels, demonstrates the opportunity for the Scottish tech community and the esteem in which it is held internationally.”

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