AstraZeneca’s Medimmune buying early stage Maryland drug developer

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AstraZeneca’s MedImmune, its global biologics research and development group, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Amplimmune, a company focused on cancer therapies.

Both MedImmune and Amplimmune are based in the area of Maryland near Washington, D.C. AstraZeneca is banking on Medimmune to bolster its drug development pipeline as blockbuster drugs go off patent. Some jobs from AstraZeneca’s Delaware operations will move to Medimmune as part of a restructuring that will lead to the loss of 1,200 positions in the First State in coming years.

The acquisition will give MedImmune’s pipeline early stage drugs. MedImmune’s cancer research is focused on IMT-C, an approach that may lead to durable and prolonged response rates across a range of cancer types. IMT-Cs would work to empower the immune system to counteract the tactics employed by cancer cells to avoid detection and attack the body, according to a release.

MedImmune will acquire 100 per cent of Amplimmune’s shares for $225 million and deferred consideration of up to $275 million based on reaching development milestones.

MedImmune’s focus on harnessing the power of the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer will be complemented by Amplimmune’s innovative work in this area. It will allow us to strengthen our arsenal of potential cancer therapies,” said Bahija Jallal, executive vice president of MedImmune. “We are excited to be working with the Amplimmune team to help find new treatments to address areas of unmet medical need.”

Both companies are passionate about developing new cancer therapies for patients and are excited about the potential of immunotherapies. We are pleased to be joining MedImmune, who will work to further advance the pioneering work we’ve been conducting in this area,” said Michael Richman, Amplimmune’s CEO. “The synergy achieved by combining our pipelines provides an important path towards developing novel immunotherapy products.”

The proposed transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.

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