Charles River Laboratories to buy research services division of Galapagos for up to €134m

Adds in vitro drug discovery capabilities to service offering

Charles River Laboratories is to buy the drug research service businesses of Belgian biotechnology group Galapagos for up to €134m (US$186m).

The deal is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.

Galapagos' CRO services division includes Argenta and BioFocus, which provide integrated drug discovery services, mainly focused on in vitro capabilities.

Charles River said the deal would position the company as a full service, early-stage contract research organisation (CRO), with integrated in vitro and in vivo capabilities from target discovery to preclinical development.

The purchase price is €129m in cash (approximately $179m). In addition, the transaction includes future performance payments of up to €5m (approximately $7m).

We believe that this acquisition expands our unique drug discovery and early-stage development focus

James Foster, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive of Charles River Laboratories, said the acquisition of Argenta and BioFocus is 'precisely in line with our strategy to build a broader portfolio of essential products and services' to support the drug discovery and development process.

'Argenta and BioFocus’s upstream in vitro capabilities will be an excellent fit with our in vivo expertise, and will enable us to engage with our clients earlier in the drug discovery process,' he said. 'We believe that this acquisition expands our unique drug discovery and early-stage development focus and advances Charles River’s position as a market leader in the fast-growing outsourced discovery services market.'

Located in the UK and the Netherlands, Argenta and BioFocus provide a full suite of drug discovery services from target discovery through to the delivery of clinic-ready candidates to a broad range of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Their in vitro expertise includes medicinal chemistry, target discovery, and complex in vitro biology, as well as therapeutic area expertise in respiratory, inflammation, oncology, and CNS diseases.

The companies employ more than 340 scientists. David Smith, currently CEO of Galapagos Services, will continue to lead Argenta and BioFocus as Corporate Vice President, In Vitro Discovery Services.

In 2013, Argenta and BioFocus generated combined sales of €63m (approximately $87m).

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