Pioneering Belfast software firm bought by Dutch giant Phillips

PathXL CEO Des Speed, right, with Invest chief executive Alastair Hamilton
PathXL CEO Des Speed, right, with Invest chief executive Alastair Hamilton
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PathXL, the Belfast based leader in digital pathology image analysis has been acquired by the Dutch owned multinational health technology company, Philips.

The deal, agreed for an undislcosed sum, sees the former Queen’s University spin-out become part of the Philips’ digital pathology solutions division where its image analysis and tissue pathology software will complement the existing services with the aim of expanding Phillips’ leadership in a fast-growing field.

Pathology involves the examination of patient tissue samples and plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of diseases, including cancer.

Both firms have carved a lead in the rapidly growing field where labs are under pressure to improve throughput and efficiency, enhance quality and to deliver new diagnostic tests for precision medicine.

“With this acquisition, we are accelerating our drive to support global medical institutions in their transition to digitized pathology workflows,” said Russ Granzow, general manager of Philips Digital Pathology Solutions.

“Together with PathXL we see a unique opportunity to amplify our combined technology leadership positions.

“We will be able to offer an intelligent and integrated solution that fulfills many needs in computational pathology, education, workflow solutions and image analytics.

“These important and growing disciplines within pathology will enable a high-quality quantitative analysis of digital whole slide images.”

Digital pathology will enable pathologists to review and share large sets of clinical data using image analytics with the aim to help improve the quality of diagnosis and has the potential to enable new therapies and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

PathXL was founded in 2004 academics Prof Peter Hamilton and Dr Jim Diamond.

Run by IT sector veteran Des Speed, it has around 30 employees, offices in the UK and USA and distributors across three continents.

Backers include Crescent Capital, Beltrae Partners and Invest Northern Ireland.

“Today’s announcement that multinational health technology company Philips is to purchase PathXL is great news for the life sciences sector in Northern Ireland,” said Invest NI Alastair Hamilton.

“PathXL has been a fast growing business making a real name for itself specialising in software which improves the analysis of cancer tumours and has caught the attention of this global brand.

“Today’s announcement is testament to the hard work and commitment of this business and recognition of its achievements.”