AstraZeneca’s global biologics R&D arm MedImmune has entered into an agreement to acquire Germany-based Definiens, a privately held company focused on 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 tumor microenvironment.
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% of which currently has a personalized healthcare approach.
“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 Dr. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, 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.”
The proposed transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.