Charles River ticks up its revenue amid a shift in focus

Preclinical research giant Charles River Laboratories ($CRL) posted 7% revenue growth in the first quarter, absorbing the blow of a tough currency translation as it deepens its focus on drug discovery services.

The CRO banked $320.4 million in revenue, topping the $299.4 million it reported in the first quarter of 2014. The strength of the dollar cut into Charles River's growth by 5.8%, the company said, but a recent slew of acquisitions more than made up the difference.

Thanks in part to the CRO's deals for Argenta, BioFocus and ChanTest, its discovery and safety assessment segment grew 33.2% to $140 million on the quarter. That growth offset a decline in research models and services, long Charles River's biggest business, which fell 9.4% to $120 million on the quarter. The company's smaller manufacturing support unit declined 2.2% to $61.7 million, as currency woes negated an otherwise strong quarter for endotoxin and microbial detection (EMD), Charles River said.

Charles River CEO James Foster

"The strong first-quarter results for our safety assessment and EMD businesses were partially offset by a slower-than-expected start for some of our other businesses," CEO James Foster said. "Improving trends in March and April give us confidence in a stronger second-quarter performance and for the remainder of the year."

The company is maintaining its constant-currency guidance for full-year revenue, expecting growth between 6.5% and 8.0%. But, at current exchange rates, that'll boil down to 1% to 2.5% above 2014.

- read the results

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