Charles River, Roche add 3 years to drug discovery partnership

Charles River Labs

More than 10 years into their drug discovery alliance, Charles River Laboratories ($CRL) and Roche have decided to extend that collaboration for an additional three years.

The CRO said in a release that it will continue to help Genentech--Roche's ($RHHBY) biologics arm--identify promising candidates that have the potential of becoming innovative treatments by offering its drug discovery services, including medicinal chemistry, in vitro and in vivo biology, structural biology, and computer-aided drug design.

Just two weeks ago, Charles River acquired Worcester, MA-based CRO Agilux, whose integrated discovery capabilities are complementary to Charles River’s existing early-stage research portfolio.

That M&A is one of three the CRO initiated this year. Blue Stream, a Woburn, MA-based CRO known for its expertise in structural and functional protein characterization--a key element for development of biologics and biosimilars--was acquired by Charles River in June; and in April, the company completed purchase of WIL Research in a $585 million deal.

Taking in other CROs is not the only tactic Charles River adopted recently; after all, attracting new partners and clients should be any CRO’s goal, and Charles River clearly has a great appetite in that sense.

Besides the extension of the alliance with Genentech, it had recently entered into a new deal with U.K.-based Milner Therapeutics Institute and Consortium made up of biopharma giants like AstraZeneca ($AZN) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and academic institutes like the University of Cambridge to accelerate early-stage drug development processes. In June, it inked a deal with Moderna Therapeutics to assist in the latter’s novel mRNA treatments.

Charles River was down 1.1% at the end of play Wednesday, with a market cap of just over $3.7 billion.