AstraZeneca share price: R&D unit buys Definiens in immuno-oncology push

AstraZeneca share price: R&D unit buys Definiens in immuno-oncology push
Written by:
Alice Young
4th November 2014, Tuesday, November 4: AstraZeneca Plc’s (LON:AZN) R&D arm has snapped up Definiens, a privately held biotech company specialising in tumour analysis, the FTSE 100 company has said.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker this morning also unveiled two new alliances to test novel drug combinations in the group’s key oncology field.
As of 08.20 GMT, AstraZeneca’s share price had added 0.75 percent to stand at 4,554.50p.
*h*Definiens acquisition*h*
AstraZeneca announced in a statement this morning that its R&D arm MedImmune had agreed to buy Munich-based Definiens, a privately-held company which has pioneered a new technology for unlocking information from cancer tissue samples. The deal will see MedImmune acquire 100 percent of Definiens’ shares for an initial consideration of $150 million (£94 million) and make additional milestone payments. 

Definiens’ imaging and data analysis technology, developed by the 1986 Nobel Laureate in physics Gerd Binnig, unlocks information from cancer tissue samples by measuring the identity, locations and the relationships between the components of the tumour microenvironment.
“”AstraZeneca expects the technology to speed up its testing processes””
AstraZeneca expects the technology to speed up its testing processes by helping identify patients most likely to benefit from a new treatment.

“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,” the unit’s executive vice president Bahija Jallal commented in the statement.
*h*New collaboration deals*h*
AstraZeneca, which highlighted the potential of its oncology pipeline earlier this year while fending off Pfizer Inc’s (NYSE:PFE) takeover approach, today unveiled two separate clinical trial alliances.

The first one will see the company collaborate with California-based Pharmacyclics, Inc (NASDAQ:PCYC) and Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) Janssen R&D unit on a clinical trial to evaluate AstraZeneca’s compound MEDI4736 in combination with Janssen’s ibrutinib as a treatment for patients with haematological cancers.
AstraZeneca struck a second trial collaboration deal with Pharmacyclics to evaluate novel combination therapies targeting solid tumours and a number of haematological cancers.

*h*Analysts on AstraZeneca*h*
As of October 31, the consensus forecast amongst 66 polled investment analysts covering AstraZeneca for the Financial Times suggests that investors should hold their position in the company.
Analyst Ratings Network Reports that the FTSE 100 drugmaker currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 4,298.95p.
AstraZeneca is scheduled to update investors on its third-quarter and nine-month performance on Thursday.
**As of 08:54 GMT, buy AstraZeneca shares at 4565.00p.**
**As of 08:54 GMT, sell AstraZeneca shares at 4563.50p.**

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