Timely deals boost Charles River's balance sheet

A string of acquisitions has revenue rolling at Charles River Laboratories ($CRL), and the CRO has inked another M&A deal it hopes will pay off with a larger market share.

In the third quarter, Charles River increased its revenue by 12% to $327.6 million due in large part to its recent $179 million acquisition of Argenta and BioFocus, two discovery-focused service providers formerly owned by Galapagos. The CRO's banner research models business stayed essentially unchanged with $124 million on the quarter, but, thanks to those acquisitions, its discovery operation grew by 25% while its manufacturing support segment jumped 13%.

Now the company has raised the low end of its full-year revenue projection, expecting up to $1.3 billion in 2014.

"We continue to see improvement in North American research models and in demand for outsourced discovery and safety assessment services," CEO James Foster said. "The integration of Argenta and BioFocus is progressing well, and client response to our broader portfolio is positive. We are exploring larger partnerships with a number of our strategic clients, which we believe will add significant value to their drug discovery efforts."

And, with an eye on that increasing demand for discovery, Charles River has made another buy, trading $52 million for ChanTest, an Ohio outfit that specializes in ion channel testing for early-stage drug development. The company offers more than 120 validated assays to test ion channels, which Charles River believes makes it a leader in the field, and the CRO expects ChanTest's services to add 1% to annual revenue next year.

"ChanTest's expertise will be invaluable to our clients as they comply with the expected implementation of new FDA guidelines for risk assessment and discover new therapies for diseases involving ion channels," Foster said.

- read the results