Speaking after the unveiling yesterday of an investment in Aridhia by Albion Ventures and original backer Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), Mr Sibbald highlighted his confidence that the Edinburgh-based company would be even bigger than the Atlantech Technologies software business he built up previously. Atlantech was sold to US giant Cisco Systems for £113 million in 2000.
Mr Sibbald highlighted Aridhia's intention to use the funding, the amount of which was not disclosed, to ramp up sales of the company's software platform in the UK and overseas.
It is understood that Mr Sibbald and Glasgow-based SEP will remain the biggest individual shareholders in Aridhia following the latest funding round, with London-headquartered Albion Ventures having a smaller but still significant stake.
NHS Scotland is among Aridhia's existing customers.
Mr Sibbald, who founded Aridhia in 2008 with Dundee University Dean of Medicine Professor Andrew Morris, noted that NHS Scotland was using Aridhia's software platform to help track the treatment of cancer patients.
He also highlighted NHS Scotland's use of Aridhia's platform to analyse data relating to patients who are on complex mixes of medication for multiple chronic conditions. He said that such data analysis could ensure patients at risk of medication complications were flagged up.
Mr Sibbald described Aridhia's offering as "a software platform that basically takes a lot of existing data that is living within the system, from lots of different places, and that brings that around individual patients or ...groups of patients and runs a variety of analytical routines around that data".
Aridhia has positioned itself to support the effective management of chronic diseases today, and a shift in future to "stratified" and "personalised" medicine, where a patient's molecular profile is used to tailor preventative measures or treatments based on the likelihood of response.
Mr Sibbald highlighted the "huge level" of interest and investment in this area in the UK and in other countries including Singapore, Australia, China and the US, and the potential for very precise diagnosis and treatment plans.
He said this was not how health services are currently delivered. However, he highlighted an "incredibly widespread view" that this was how health services would be delivered over the next five, 10 or 15 years.
Mr Sibbald said: "It is a really important area for us, a really important area for health in general … We certainly, as best as we are able, want to be a big part of that from an informatics and data analytics point of view."
Aridhia, which does not disclose revenue figures, has 82 people working for it, including clinicians, life scientists, computer scientists, and data scientists.
Mr Sibbald noted the firm had a "real mix of people from industry, academia, and the NHS".
Referring to the funding injection from Albion and SEP, he said: "It is a big investment."
Emphasising that the venture capitalists had no plans to make an exit from the company or float it on the stock market in the short term, Mr Sibbald said both saw a "long-term opportunity here to build a very substantial company".
He added: "Healthcare is an industry where costs have risen more than GDP [gross domestic product] for the last 40 years, worldwide. It is the one industry where, it is fair to say, the impact of informatics, analytics, big data, has had the smallest impact."
Mr Sibbald saw a need, given cost pressures and a rise in the number of people with multiple chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, to change the way health services were delivered, involving patients more in the management of their own care and sharing more information with them.
Aridhia's client base also includes the Ministry of Health of Kuwait, several academic health science networks in the UK, and other healthcare providers internationally. Its network of strategic partners includes Life Technologies, with which Aridhia is collaborating to support the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre.
Mr Sibbald said: "In terms of other stuff I have done in my career, in other industries, I think this is by far the area that has got most potential. I would expect it [Aridhia] to grow bigger than Atlantech, for example."
He added: "We are taking a pretty sizeable investment, which is really driven around a go-to-market model, nationally and internationally, with the products we have developed over the past five years. We have got a real path to pretty substantial growth."