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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Charles River Acquires Global CRO

Written by: | | Dated: Tuesday, February 13th, 2018


Charles River Slams Down $800M Cash for Global CRO


By Mark Terry


Charles River Laboratories, a contract research organization (CRO) headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts, is buying MPI Research for about $800 million.

MPI is a non-clinical CRO that provides comprehensive testing services to biopharma and medical device companies around the globe. It is based in Mattawan, Michigan. The acquisition will strengthen Charles River’s position as a global early-stage CRO, expanding its client base and service portfolio, build scale and enhance its growth profile.

“In addition to meeting our disciplined acquisition criteria,” said James Foster, Charles River Laboratories’ chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement, “MPI is an exceptional strategic fit for Charles River because it incorporates the key attributes we require in an acquisition: access to growing end markets, high-quality services, scientific expertise, and complementary capabilities. MPI’s one-million-square-foot, single-site facility in Michigan will provide needed capacity to meet current and future demand.”

MPI is expected to generate annual revenue of about $240 million. The deal is projected to close early in the second quarter. It will add $170 to $190 million to Charles River’s 2018 consolidated revenue based on the projected closing date, and $260 to $280 million in 2019 consolidated revenue.

On February 1, the company announced it has signed a new deal to gain commercial access to AstraZeneca’s high-throughput screening (HTS) and compound management infrastructure. That will allow Charles River to provide HTS services to its clients using AstraZeneca’s HTS facility.

AstraZeneca’s HTS facilities are located at its Centre for Lead Discovery in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Charles River will pick scientists-in-residence to work at the facility, manage its compound collection and operate HTS for clients.

“Through our longstanding relationship with AstraZeneca, we have developed and implemented best practices that allow us to complete studies more efficiently and effectively,” said Brian Bathgate, corporate senior vice president, European Safety Assessment, Charles River Laboratories, in a statement. “Access to AstraZeneca’s HTS technology is another collaboration that will enable us to continue to deliver groundbreaking science.”

John Carroll, writing for Endpoints News, observes, “Charles River is a buyer in the CRO world. Just weeks ago it acquired KWS BioTest and its in vivo and in vitro discovery services for 15 million pounds (roughly $20 million) up front. And it’s been racking up a long string of acquisitions over the past few years as top players continue to carve out market share.”

The KWS BioTest acquisition strategically expanded Charles River’s discovery capabilities in immunology. Foster also said in a statement at the time, “In addition to enhancing our position as the premier single-source provider for a broad portfolio of discovery services, KWS increases our ability to support clients’ early-stage drug research in critical therapeutic areas, and expands our geographic footprint in the United Kingdom.”

Of today’s announcement, Foster said, “In addition to enhancing our value proposition for clients, we believe that the acquisition of MPI will generate value for shareholders, driving profitable revenue growth and non-GAAP earnings per share accretion of approximately $0.25 in 2018 and approximately $0.60 in 2019. We greatly respect MPI’s employees, its scientific capabilities, and the reputation it has built over the nearly 25 years since its founding, and look forward to welcoming MPI to the Charles River family.”



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