Charles River Laboratories has been on an acquisition spree. But Tuesday, it offloaded two assets
Following a summer filled with mergers and acquisitions, Charles River Laboratories has divested its research operations in Japan and a CDMO site in Sweden, engineering two separate deals expected to cut down $20 million in revenue.
Tuesday, Charles River sold its gene therapy CDMO site to a private investor group for about $52 million in cash, with the potential for contingent payments up to $25 million. The site was in the company’s possession for only a few months, as it was acquired from Cognate BioServices on March 29.
The site primarily produces plasmid DNA for gene therapies. It has about 130 employees and generated $10 million in revenue in 2020, and the sale reduces earnings per share by about 10 cents in Q4 of this year. Charles River says it still will produce pDNA in other sites in the UK and US.
The two deals — done separately — generated $98 million for Charles River. The sale of the RMS Japan operations to the Jackson Laboratory will provide the buyer with 260 employees and a business that generated $46 million in revenue in 2020. Charles River and the Jackson Laboratory have had a distribution agreement for more than 20 years, and Charles River will still have the Japan location make and distribute the company’s research models in Japan. The site was sold for $63 million.
In mid-May, Charles River paid $292.5 million for Vigene Biosciences and its 52,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Rockville, MD. In February, the company bought Cognate and pledged to double capacity in Memphis and Europe. It teamed up with Valence Discovery in April, and expanded its manufacturing operations in Ireland by extending its testing capabilities in a deal worth nearly $10 million that will add another 90 roles to the team in the next three years. The deal will also help provide testing and deployment of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 jab Vaxzevria and flu vaccine Fluenz.
About 6% of Charles River’s Q2 growth was thanks to acquisitions, according to an earnings report. Year-over-year revenue was up 34% this year after Q2, from $682.6 million in 2020 to $914.6 million. CEO James Foster said in a press release that the strength of the non-clinical contract research and manufacturing portfolios helped position the company to respond well to the demands that came along with Covid-19.
In a May interview with Endpoints News, Birgit Girshick — a 32-year Charles River veteran and EVP of discovery and safety assessment — said that organic investment through M&As has helped the company navigate an area under constant change.
“Our guiding principle for acquisitions is to acquire companies with the best science and the best people,” she said. “This is how we enhance the breadth and quality of our services as we grow.”