Charles River Labs completes WIL Research deal

Test tubes in a lab
(University of Michigan / CC BY 2.0)

Charles River Laboratories International has dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's on its $585 million acquisition of WIL Research.

OH-based CDMO WIL Research will add new manufacturing capabilities to CRO Charles River Laboratories ($CRL), headquartered in MA, as well as expanding its global footprint.

James Foster, chairman, president, and CEO of Charles River Laboratories, commented, "We are pleased to welcome the exceptional team at WIL Research to the Charles River family. WIL reinforces our scientific leadership, adding a wealth of talent with deep expertise in specialty areas. Our combined capabilities and larger infrastructure will enhance our ability to support our clients' complex drug research and development needs, enabling them to make critical go/no-go decisions faster and with greater certainty. The acquisition of WIL Research is a key element of our continued ability to support our clients' early-stage drug research efforts, to achieve our long-term growth goals, and to enhance shareholder value."

The buyout is Charles River's fifth deal over the past two years, capping an acquisitive spree the CRO says has fortified its position in the market for outsourced drug development.

In November, Charles River Laboratories traded $36 million for Oncotest, a German company offering discovery and validation services in the field of oncology. Months before, the company spent $212 million on Celsis, which is focused on quality-control testing, and in 2014 Charles River paid $179 million for Argenta and BioFocus, two discovery-minded service providers formerly owned by Galapagos ($GLPG).

In late 2014, the company shelled out $52 million for ChanTest, an Ohio outfit that specializes in ion channel testing for early-stage drug development.

WIL Research said in a statement that it is "excited to join the Charles River family."

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