PITTSBURGH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bayer today announced the acquisition of the global strategic imaging AI platform and solutions provider Blackford Analysis Ltd. 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 Bayer’s position in digital medical imaging.
“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, which has a presence in the United Kingdom and the United States, 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.
“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.”
The overall global medical imaging AI field with sales of more than USD 400m in 2021 is expected to continue growing dynamically, with an estimated compounded annual growth rate of more than 26 percent (2020 to 2026) reaching USD 1.36 billion by 2026.1 Innovation powered by AI is needed more than ever. Aging populations and changing lifestyles are leading to an increase in chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.2 Consequently, the demand for medical imaging to detect diseases, guide treatment decisions and support therapy planning is growing.3 AI comes with the value proposition to aid diagnosis and increase the throughput of radiological examinations.4
About Radiology at Bayer
As a true life-science company with a heritage of over 100 years in Radiology, Bayer is committed to providing excellence, from innovative products to high-quality services to support efficient and optimized patient care. Bayer is offering a comprehensive portfolio of contrast media for computed tomography (CT), X-Ray, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices for their precise administration, informatics solutions as well as a medical imaging platform delivering access to applications, including those enabled by AI. Altogether, the Radiology products from Bayer generated €1.8bn sales in 2021. Following the company’s ambition to outperform the radiology segment’s average annual growth of 5% until 2030, Bayer is strongly committed to research and development, which includes using artificial intelligence and driving innovation in medical imaging. Each of these offerings provide effective tools to support radiologists in their mission to deliver treatment critical answers and a clear direction – from diagnosis to care.
About Blackford Analysis
Blackford provides tailored tools and services to unlock the value of imaging AI, drive efficiencies and improve patient outcomes. For over a decade, Blackford has worked in partnership with leading healthcare organizations and ground-breaking technology providers to integrate best-fit AI into clinical workflows to realize ongoing value. Partnering with Blackford provides healthcare organizations access to a wide portfolio of AI solutions via a single tried-and-tested platform.
The collaboration with Bayer has its roots in 2019, when Blackford was among the selected start-ups of Bayer’s G4A Digital Health Partnerships Program that year.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and the planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to driving sustainable development and generating a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2021, the Group employed around 100,000 people and had sales of 44.1 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 5.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
1 Signify Research: AI in Medical Imaging – World Market Analysis 2022
2 Atella V, Piano Mortari A, Kopinska J, Belotti F, Lapi F, Cricelli C, Fontana L. Trends in age-related disease burden and healthcare utilization. Aging Cell. 2019 Feb;18(1):e12861. doi: 10.1111/acel.12861. Epub 2018 Nov 29. PMID: 30488641; PMCID: PMC6351821. World Health Organization. Ageing and Health. Available at: www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health. Accessed: December 2022
3 OECD: https://data.oecd.org/healthcare/computed-tomography-ct-exams.htm; https://data.oecd.org/healthcare/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri-exams.htm#indicator-chart
4 Mehrizi MHR, Gerritsen SH, de Klerk WM, Houtschild C, Dinnessen SMH, Zhao L, van Sommeren R, Zerfu A. How do providers of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions propose and legitimize the values of their solutions for supporting diagnostic radiology workflow? A technography study in 2021. Eur Radiol. 2022 Aug 18. doi: 10.1007/s00330-022-09090-x. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35980427.
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