AstraZeneca PLC Builds Cancer Immunotherapy Capabilities With $150 Million Definiens AG Buy

Published: Nov 04, 2014

AstraZeneca's Builds Cancer Immunotherapy Capabilities With $150 Million Definiens AG Buy

November 4, 2014

By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

MedImmune, AstraZeneca ’s global biologics research and development segment, has entered an agreement to acquire Definiens, a privately held company that pioneered an imaging and data analysis technology known as Tissue Phenomics. The news was announced today, and MedImmune will acquire all of Definiens’ shares for an initial consideration of $150 million.

Tissue Phemonics dramatically improves the identification of biomarkers in tumor tissue. Despite the deal, Definiens will continue to operate business with its third-party customers. The company is a leader in image analysis and data mining solutions, and its technology provides cell-by-cell readouts from target structures on tissue slides, supporting better decisions in therapy.

Definiens’ Tissue Phenomics approach marks a significant step toward closing the gap between genomics and patient outcomes,” said Thomas Heydler, chief executive officer of Definiens. “We look forward to joining the MedImmune team as Tissue Phenomics is of particular importance for personalised medicine in immuno-oncology. Definiens' unique ability to extract information from tissue images enables us to find novel markers for patient stratification by correlating tissue information with clinical outcomes. Together, MedImmune and Definiens can bring tailored treatments to patients faster."

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.The acquisition is expected to strengthen MedImmune’s focus on predictive biomarkers.

MedImmune has a comprehensive program in immuno-oncology and the identification of patients who are most likely to respond to particular therapies is critical to our ability to successfully develop new medicines,” said Bahija Jallal, executive vice president of MedImmune. “Definiens’ technology will complement our immuno-oncology approach and allow us to accelerate further our clinical programs through its highly precise predictive and prognostic biomarker testing. We look forward to working with Definiens’ scientists to give patients the best chance of receiving the targeted medicines suited for their particular needs.”

MedImmune will use the technology it acquires to advance its most promising combination therapies across AstraZeneca’s combined small molecule and biologics pipeline. Currently, 80 percent of this pipeline takes a personalized healthcare approach.

"Definiens brings a distinctive technology that will have application across the organization as well as supporting our immuno-oncology efforts,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of Innovative Medicines and Early Development at AstraZeneca. “Harnessing this groundbreaking technology will reinforce our approach to developing companion diagnostics that help us in selecting the patients who would benefit the most from therapies across our small molecule and biologics portfolios.”

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