Philips, the Dutch medical technology company, has purchased PathXL, a Belfast-based digital imaging analysis and software company. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Philips CEO Frans van Houten said that its digital pathology business was "doubling every year." 

A company spokesman said its digital pathology sales would pass "several tens of millions" of euros in sales this year, including the acquisition. 

In digital pathology, tissue samples are scanned and stored in computer files so they can be summoned by doctors for instant, computer-assisted analysis or repeatedly reviewed. 

"The computer can do a much better job than the human eye, as it is much more systematic in analysing tissues," Van Houten said. 

"We're acquiring a company that has deep clinical knowledge and technology to analyse cancerous cells," he added. 

The PathXL acquisition comes as Philips seeks to complete its decade-long transition from an electronics company to a vendor of cloud-connected medical devices and systems used by both hospitals and consumers. 

Last month, it sold a 25% stake in Philips Lighting, its last remaining non-health operation, in part to raise money for investments such as the PathXL deal. 

Separately, Philips said today that it had struck a deal with Visiopharm to licence the Danish company's breast cancer software analysis for use on Philips' digital pathology platform. 

That partnership "will widen the capabilities of our pathology business and make it even more attractive for pathologists to adopt," Van Houten said.