A Scottish artificial intelligence spin-out has been acquired by global life sciences and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer.

Blackford Analysis, a strategic imaging AI platform and solutions provider, has a presence in the UK and US.

Spun out from the University of Edinburgh in 2010 and still headquartered in the city, the company said it 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, the value of which was not disclosed, is expected to close later this year, pending the satisfaction of standard closing conditions.

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.

Ben Panter, Blackford founder and chief executive, said: “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.”

Niki McKenzie, joint managing director of Archangels, said: “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 is held internationally.”

Kerry Sharp, of Scottish Enterprise, said: “This acquisition will provide increased opportunities for the company alongside Bayer and we are delighted to have supported Blackford for over 10 years through our co-investment model.”

Stefan Oelrich, president of Bayer’s pharmaceutical division, said: “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. 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.”

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