Charles River CRO to continue to expand biomanufacturing support biz

Following a strong year for its manufacturing services division, Charles River Laboratories intends to invest further to benefit from the high growth in biologics.

Contract Research Organization (CRO) Charles River reported full year 2018 revenues of $430 million (€381 million) within its manufacturing support division, up 11.9% on the previous year.

The unit provides manufacturing services for drug developers, including cell line characterization, lot release testing and stability studies. Increasingly, the business has focused on biologics, reflecting industry’s shifting pipelines, and so the CRO has been investing in this space.

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“The increasing number of biologics in development represents a significant market opportunity for our Biologics business and we have been successful at gaining business because of our extensive portfolio of services to support the manufacture of biologics,” Charles River CEO Jim Foster said on a conference call discussing results.

Charles River’s biologics manufacturing offerings include mammalian and microbial cell banking, Phase I/II vaccines and viral challenge stocks, monoclonal and polyclonal antisera production, and specific-pathogen-free (SPF) egg production for vaccine production.

“We are continuing to invest in capacity expansions to accommodate robust client demand and believe that this is essential to achieving our goal for low-double-digit revenue growth over the longer term.”

The CRO recently added 2,800 square feet of clean rooms dedicated to GMP microbial and mammalian cell banking at its site in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and is building out sites in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Ekrath, Germany, and Ballina, Ireland to expand its biologics testing services.

A 73,000 square-foot facility acquired in January 2018 in Wayne, Pennsylvania will also increase biologics laboratory space.

“The investments that we’re making now – one of them quite significantly in our facility in Pennsylvania – as well as some smaller investments and other geographies provides the necessary capacity for biologics which is a very high growth business,” said Foster. “[The] market’s growing at double-digit rates.”

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