AstraZeneca announced that MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, has entered into an agreement to acquire Definiens, a privately-held company that has pioneered a world-leading imaging and data analysis technology, known as Tissue Phenomics, which dramatically improves the identification of biomarkers in tumor tissue.
Definiens’ proprietary Cognition Network Technology was developed by Professor Gerd Binnig, the 1986 Nobel Laureate in Physics, and unlocks information from cancer tissue samples by measuring the identity, locations and, most importantly, the relationships between the many and varied components of the complex tumour microenvironment.
Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune will acquire 100% of Definiens’ shares for an initial consideration of $150 million and make additional predetermined milestone payments. Definiens will continue to operate its business with third-party customers.
The acquisition will strengthen MedImmune’s focus on the discovery of novel predictive biomarkers in immuno-oncology. It is believed that using biomarkers to select patients for clinical trials could potentially shorten clinical timelines and increase response rates. As a result, the technology will serve as an important tool in the advancement of the most promising combination therapies across AstraZeneca’s combined small molecule and biologics pipeline, around 80 percent of which currently has a personalised healthcare approach.
“MedImmune has a comprehensive programme 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 Dr. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, MedImmune. “Definiens’ technology will complement our immuno-oncology approach and allow us to accelerate further our clinical programmes 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.”
Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of Innovative Medicines and Early Development, AstraZeneca, added: “Definiens brings a distinctive technology that will have application across the organisation as well as supporting our immuno-oncology efforts. 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.”
Date: November 4, 2014