Charles River digs into Parkinson's R&D with Fox Foundation in tow

Charles River CEO James Foster

CRO Charles River Laboratories ($CRL) has expanded its relationship with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research to investigate a promising target that could lead to new treatments for the disease.

Building on a relationship that dates back to 2011, the foundation is funding a Charles River-led project to flesh out the potential benefit of small-molecule therapies that inhibit an enzyme called LRRK2. Variants to the LRRK2 gene have long been linked to the development of Parkinson's disease, Charles River said, and blocking the enzyme's effect could signal a new therapeutic path.

The CRO's job is to handle preclinical studies designed to determine an optimal dose for LRRK2 blockers, finding a sweet spot that blocks its expression without triggering the lung toxicities seen in past studies, Charles River said.

The project, for which neither party disclosed financial details, stems from the Fox Foundation's research consortium, which also includes the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University and the University of Pittsburgh. The goal is to explore novel approaches to Parkinson's by bringing in experts from academy and industry alike.

Meanwhile, Charles River is closing out a booming year fueled by a string of acquisitions. The company says it's on pace for 5% annual revenue growth after raising its 2015 projection by about 11% last quarter.

- read the statement

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