Belfast Telegraph

PathXL to double workforce to 60 after being bought by Philips for undisclosed sum

By John Mulgrew

Belfast software firm PathXL is set to double its workforce to more than 60 people after being bought up by Dutch technology giant Philips.

The company is also staying put at the rebranded Northern Ireland Science Park, now called Catalyst Inc. It will, however, move to a bigger office at the centre.

The firm creates software for medical researchers to process slides and provides software for use in research, healthcare and education, including in the analysis of tumours.

Co-founder Peter Hamilton told the Belfast Telegraph: "In terms of our technology, we have been limited in what we can do in terms of our cancer recognition. But we can now begin taking that forward for clinical diagnosis."

He added the business would be able to help make "those really difficult decisions" and develop new therapies.

"It means the expansion of 30 new jobs, on top of the 30 existing," a spokesman for PathXL added.

"It will be skilled workers in software development roles. It means these jobs will be staying in Belfast. Philips know we have been doing well here.

"I think it will only change for the better. It gives us the name and the brand, allowing us to go in to new areas and look into creating more business for ourselves.

"But by joining the Philips brand, we have the ability to grow bigger, and stronger, and to improve the quality of our products."

The Queen's University spin-out's co-founder Professor Peter Hamilton will head up the business in Belfast, taking over full-time as chief scientist.

PathXL will continue to have autonomy, despite now being owned by a multibillion-pound corporation.

"Philips has the same culture as PathXL, and they spend a lot on research and development," Mr Hamilton said.

He also explained that the deal meant "Philips are getting to acquire our knowledge, and we get to expand our research".

"(Our software) is international, and across the US and Europe - a mixture of universities and different areas," Mr Hamilton told this newspaper. "That will not change. Our strength is with education - and that will continue."

Speaking about the new deal, the value of which has not been disclosed, Russ Granzow, general manager of Philips Digital Pathology Solutions, said PathXL was a powerful company.

"With this acquisition, we are accelerating our drive to support global medical institutions in their transition to digitised pathology workflows," he added.

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

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

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI said the purchase of the firm was great news for the life sciences sector in Northern Ireland.

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

Belfast Telegraph