Charles River Laboratories Continues to Grow Through Acquisition

The purchase of CRO KWS BioTest adds in vitro and in vivo discovery testing services for immuno-oncology and inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Charles River Laboratories (CRL) may be one of the largest contract research organizations (CROs) in the world, but it continues to make acquisitions to enhance and expand its offerings. In 2016 the company acquired Blue Stream Laboratories, which specializes in recombinant glycoprotein and complex biologics characterization; WIL Research, a provider of safety assessment services to the biopharma and ag sectors; and Agilux Laboratories, a CRO providing integrated discovery small- and large-molecule bioanalytical, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetic (DMPK), and pharmacology services. In 2017, CRL purchased Brains On-Line, a CRO offering critical data used to develop novel drugs for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) diseases.

To start off 2018, CRL is enhancing its oncology and immunology contract research services with the acquisition of KWS BiOTest, a CRO that specialized in in vitro and in vivo discovery testing services for immuno-oncology and inflammatory and infectious diseases. 

CRL will pay approximately $20 million in cash for KWS BiOTest. The deal also includes a potential additional payment of approximately $4 million if future performance milestones are reached.

“The addition of KWS strategically expands Charles River’s existing discovery capabilities in the field of immunology, which is critical given the importance of new therapies which harness the human immune system,” said James Foster, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Charles River. “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, and expands our geographic footprint in the UK.”


Nigel Walker

Mr. Walker is the founder and managing director of That’s Nice LLC, a research-driven marketing agency with 20 years dedicated to life sciences. Nigel harnesses the strategic capabilities of Nice Insight, the research arm of That’s Nice, to help companies communicate science-based visions to grow their businesses. Mr. Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design with honors from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, England.