Press Releases

Covance and Definiens collaborate to integrate digital pathology into precision medicine design and development

Alliance establishes image analysis-enabled companion diagnostics as standard for comprehensive targeted therapies

Burlington, N.C., and Munich—October 17, 2018—LabCorp® (NYSE: LH), a leading global life sciences company, and Definiens®, a pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI) based image analysis, announced a strategic collaboration to improve global development of precision medicine. The collaboration, between Definiens and LabCorp’s Covance drug development business, will enable seamless integration of digital pathology with clinical-trial design and tissue-based testing solutions, resulting in a faster and more rigorous approach to biomarker validation and companion diagnostic co-development.

Companion diagnostics are used in conjunction with targeted drugs and therapies to identify patients who are likely to benefit from a specific treatment regimen or who may have increased risk for certain side effects. The companies expect the first application of these processes will be in oncology, particularly immuno-oncology.

LabCorp and Covance have been involved in the development of drugs and their associated companion diagnostics for more than 20 years and have supported approximately two-thirds of all FDA-approved companion diagnostics. Definiens leverages machine learning and deep-learning to comprehensively profile the tumor microenvironment and create unique patient phenotypic profiles. Its digital pathology applications enable biopharma companies to make more informed decisions regarding their oncology and immuno-oncology pipelines.

The collaboration will initially focus on multiplex immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization (ISH) applications in early-stage clinical programs, which allow researchers to obtain significantly more information from a single sample than with other standard methods. This approach is designed to enable the therapy to advance more quickly to pivotal clinical trial scale studies. Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

“This collaboration unites Definiens’ ground-breaking technology and innovation with Covance’s extensive experience in biomarker identification and companion diagnostics development,” said John Ratliff, CEO, Covance. “Together, we can accelerate the pace of drug development, delivering the transformative potential of oncology therapies – and immuno-oncology in particular – to patients around the globe faster and more efficiently than ever before.”

“Based on years of AI development, Definiens Tissue Phenomics® is recognized as the premier technology for characterizing the tumor microenvironment for immuno-oncology applications,” said Thomas Heydler, CEO, Definiens. “We are very excited to partner with Covance, the world leader in companion diagnostics, to demonstrate the power of Tissue Phenomics as an integral part of CDx development for clinical trials worldwide.” 

About LabCorp

LabCorp (NYSE: LH), an S&P 500 company, is a leading global life sciences company that is deeply integrated in guiding patient care, providing comprehensive clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services. With a mission to improve health and improve lives, LabCorp delivers world-class diagnostic solutions, brings innovative medicines to patients faster and uses technology to improve the delivery of care. LabCorp reported net revenues of over $10 billion in 2017. To learn more about LabCorp, visit, and to learn more about Covance Drug Development, visit

About Definiens

Definiens is a member of the AstraZeneca group providing products and services to companies across the life sciences sector, including MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca. Definiens strives to improve patient lives by unlocking the tissue phenome.

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