Charles River buys Vital River
Deal follows AstraZeneca agreement
Charles River Laboratories International has agreed to acquire 75% ownership of Vital River, a Chinese supplier of research models and related services which has, for ten years, been a licensee of its research models in China. The $27 million deal should close in Q1 2013, subject to customary closing conditions, including Chinese regulatory approvals. The company has the option to acquire the remaining 25% at a later date.
Charles River said that it had made the acquisition in view of expectations that demand for research models will increase dramatically over the next several years in China as drug development initiatives in academia, government and biopharmaceutical companies expand. This was its second recent acquisition, following a $17 million deal in late August for Accugenix, a US-based provider of cGMP-compliant contract microbial identification testing for the biopharmaceuticals, medical device, nutraceuticals and consumer care industries.
Earlier in October, Charles River announced that it had been selected by AstraZeneca as its preferred strategic partner for outsourced regulated safety assessment and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics studies for three years to 2015. This essentially formalised an existing arrangement on in vivo biology that had already seen some programmes transferred in from AstraZeneca and which is expected to be completed in early 2013. The three transactions combined should add a little under 3% to earnings.