Charles River splashes half a billion dollars on French CRO Citoxlab

Acquisition gives Charles River a better standing in Eastern Europe, access to small to mid-sized biotech clients and a suite of early-stage services

Charles River Laboratories has announced that it will spend €448 million ($510 million), in cash, to purchase Citoxlab. The acquisition of the CRO will allow the US-based company to strengthen its position in early-stage contract research, by expanding its scientific portfolio and geographic footprint.

Headquartered in Évreux, France, Citoxlab specialises in regulated safety assessment services, non-regulated discovery services, and medical device testing.

With operations in Europe and North America and a global capacity totalling over 700,000 sqft, the proposed acquisition of Citoxlab would enhance Charles River's ability to partner with clients across the drug discovery and development continuum.

The company said it is looking to use Citoxlab’s services to enhance its standing in Eastern Europe and small to mid-sized biotech clients.

Citoxlab provides a suite of early-stage services that would strengthen Charles River’s existing capabilities in four key areas:

  • General and speciality toxicology, including developmental and reproductive toxicology and ocular services, as well as agricultural and industrial chemical testing, including ecotoxicology services.
  • Preclinical medical device testing services, significantly enhancing Charles River’s existing expertise.
  • Non-regulated discovery solutions, ranging from traditional DMPK services to drug transporter and drug-to-drug interaction research.
  • Genomics research, adding unique expertise to Charles River’s capabilities in mechanistic and investigative toxicology.

Jean-François Le Bigot, Chairman and CEO of Citoxlab, said: “At a time when new drug approvals are at record levels and the complexity of each drug candidate is increasing, we believe the collaboration of our respective scientific teams, the implementation of best practices, and the synergies between the early-stage services offered by Charles River and Citoxlab would represent a significant growth opportunity for both organisations, and also enhance the value that we provide to all of our clients to meet their individual needs.”

The companies have signed a binding offer that is subject to labour consultations, regulatory requirements, and customary closing conditions. The proposed transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019 upon completion of these labour consultations and Citoxlab’s shareholders are expected to enter into a definitive purchase agreement at that time.

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