MedImmune Acquires Definiens

November 4, 2014
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

MedImmune enters into an agreement to acquire the image analysis and data mining company.

MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s global biologics research and development arm, has entered into an agreement to acquire Definiens, a provider of image analysis and data mining solutions for tissue diagnostics and clinical digital pathology. Definiens imaging and data analysis technology, Tissue Phenomics, improves the identification of biomarkers in tumor tissue.

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 proposed transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.

MedImmune expects the acquisition to strengthen the company’s focus on the discovery of novel predictive biomarkers in immuno-oncology. According to the company, using biomarkers to select patients for clinical trials could potentially shorten clinical timelines and increase response rates.

Definiens’ proprietary Cognition Network Technology unlocks information from cancer tissue samples by measuring the identity, locations, and relationships between components of the complex tumor microenvironment. MedImmune believes this technology will serve as a tool in the advancement of combination therapies across AstraZeneca’s combined small molecule and biologics pipeline, approximately 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, in a press release. “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.”

Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president of Innovative Medicines and Early Development, AstraZeneca, added, "Definiens brings a distinctive technology that will have application across the organization 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.”

Thomas Heydler, CEO, Definiens, stated in the press release, “Definiens’ Tissue Phenomics approach marks a significant step toward closing the gap between genomics and patient outcomes. We look forward to joining the MedImmune team as Tissue Phenomics is of particular importance for personalized 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."

Source: AstraZeneca