M&A, Outsourcing

Charles River buys KWS BioTest for $20M, gaining immunology discovery capacity and a UK footprint

In a move to expand its discovery enterprise, Charles River Laboratories $CRL has acquired KWS BioTest for £15 million (roughly $20 million) up front.

A provider of both in vivo and in vitro discovery services, KWS’ speciality spans immuno-oncology and inflammatory and infectious disease, allowing Charles River to further tap into the hot areas of oncology and immunology. The smaller company’s UK base also helps Charles River — headquartered in Wilmington, MA — reach that area.

James Foster

“In addition to enhancing our position as the premier single-source provider for a broad portfolio of discovery services, KWS increases our ability to support clients’ early-stage drug research in critical therapeutic areas,” said chairman, president and CEO James Foster in a statement.

The established CRO has been fairly active on the business development front, having bought a central nervous disease-focused firm and signed a deal to build in vitro 3D tumor microtissues in the second half of last year. It’s also doing some preclinical work on tropical and neurological diseases with Eisai.

In the KWS buyout, Charles River also promises an additional payment of up to £3 million (around $4 million) based on future performance. Stock prices have stayed flat since the announcement.


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