Charles River Acquires WIL Research, May Target CTM Manufacture

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Charles River Laboratories (CRL) is acquiring preclinical CRO WIL Research Laboratories for $585 million. CRL pegged the acquisition price at a multiple of 12.9x adjusted EBITDA, and will finance the deal with debt. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

The acquisition of WIL Research gives CRL additional capacity in safety assessment (toxicology) services, an area where there is strong demand because of all of the funding for early stage pipeline and companies. That includes capacity in continental Europe, where CRL does not have a tox facility; its European tox facility is in Scotland, and it has analytical labs for testing biopharmaceuticals on the continent.

The deal also builds CRL’s share in the highly fragmented safety assessment market. Data presented by Charles River CEO Jim Foster at JPMorgan shows the combined CRL-WIL Research business will have about 20% of the market, somewhat ahead of the next biggest players, Covance and Envigo. The five largest preclinical CROs appear to have only about 40% of the $4 billion outsourced safety assessment market.

This article is reprinted from the January issue of Biopharmaceutical Outsourcing Report. The full article addresses the future of the two largest remaining private players in the preclinical space. To learn more, click here.

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Jim Miller is the founder and president of PharmSource Information Services, Inc. A preeminent expert in bio/pharmaceutical outsourcing, Jim established and presides over the industry’s principal resource for serious consumers of information on contract drug development and manufacturing, PharmSource STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE. He is editor and publisher of Bio/Pharmaceutical Outsourcing Report and Emerging Markets Outsourcing Report.

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