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AstraZeneca's MedImmune Acquiring Definiens for at Least $150M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – AstraZeneca today announced its biologics research and development arm MedImmune has reached a deal to purchase digital pathology products firm Definiens.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, MedImmune will pay an initial consideration of $150 million for 100 percent of Definiens' shares and make additional predetermined milestone payments. Definiens will continue doing business with third-party customers.

The acquisition is anticipated to strengthen MedImmune's focus on biomarker discovery aimed at immuno-oncology, AstraZeneca said. Based in Munich, Germany, privately held Definiens was founded in 1994 by Gerd Binnig, the 1986 Nobel Laureate in physics. Its Tissue Phenomics technology is based on the company's Cognition Network Technology, a big data approach to developing tissue-based diagnostics for oncology and immunotherapy.

In June Definiens said that it raised €15 million ($20.4 million) in private financing to support its expansion plans into digital tissue diagnostics.

"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," MedImmune Executive Vice President Bahija Jallal said in a statement. "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."

Mene Pangalos, EVP of innovative medicines and early development at AstraZeneca, added that leveraging Definiens' 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."