Bayer strengthened its ties with Scottish artificial intelligence developer Blackford Analysis to build a one-stop shop for applications in medical imaging.
The drugmaker previously backed the company through grants and a partnership program aimed at digital health, which brought on Blackford among a class of 10 other international startups last year.
Now, they’ve signed a development and licensing agreement to design AI platforms for radiology suites. This includes integrating machine-learning programs into diagnostic workflows as well as providing their offerings to clinicians through a virtual marketplace.
“Our agreement with Blackford Analysis reinforces our commitment to innovation in medical imaging,” Bayer’s head of digital business solutions for radiology, Alexandre Salvador, said in an announcement timed with the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
“We want to drive AI-enabled radiology solutions that add clinical value by supporting radiologists and their teams in providing clear direction from diagnosis to care” by combining Bayer’s life science research with Blackford’s development plans, Salvador said.
The new marketplace is slated to include image-analyzing applications and AI algorithms, plus protocol and department management tools that can be easily paired with hospitals’ current systems.
The ultimate goal is to provide radiologists with prescreened images that have automatically identified features such as signs of cancer or cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that the growing load of radiological images that need reading continues to outpace the number of trained readers available—with an average radiologist needing to interpret a scan every three to four seconds per eight-hour workday to keep up, in one example cited by Bayer.
Blackford’s current marketplace platform is already connected to hospitals, radiology groups and imaging centers across the U.S., Europe and Oceania.
“This experience and our advanced platform technology will give Bayer the ability to help healthcare providers identify and integrate medical imaging applications and AI that benefit their practice,” Blackford CEO Ben Panter said.