Charles River is AstraZeneca's latest CRO partner

AstraZeneca ($AZN) is outsourcing around the world in an effort to get its stilted pipeline moving, and now the pharma giant has inked a deal with Charles River Labs ($CRL) for safety assessment and metabolism-and-pharmacokinetics testing services.

Neither company disclosed financial terms. The deal extends into 2015, and AstraZeneca began transferring many of its programs to Charles River earlier this year, the company said. Charles River says the arrangement will likely account for about 1% of its 2013 net sales--for reference, the company pulled in a net $1.14 billion in 2011, FierceBiotech notes.

AZ picked Charles River in part for its customized in vivo biology program, the company said, and James Foster, the CRO's chief executive, said his outfit has the necessary expertise to speed along drug development for the drugmaker. "Our shared passion for scientific excellence is a strong foundation for this relationship, and we look forward to working with AstraZeneca's scientists 'on the same side of the table' to achieve their drug development goals," Foster said in a statement.

The announcement comes just days after AZ signed a deal with Chinese CRO Pharmaron for similar services, targeting treatments for cancer and cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and infectious diseases. Last month, AstraZeneca struck a deal with WuXi PharmaTech ($WX), employing the CRO to help develop and commercialize MEDI5117, a biologic for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

AZ's recent push to outsource comes as the company has endured deep R&D cuts, maintaining a smaller in-house development team and relying on external deals to flesh out its product portfolio. 

- check out the release
- read FierceBiotech's take

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