Outsourced drug discovery services continue to be an attractive area for acquisitions and investment. UK PE house Phoenix Equity Partners invested in Nottingham-based Sygnature discovery last year and American-based Charles River Inc has kicked off 2018 with the acquisition of UK-based KWS BioTest. This continues a trend of UK service-based pharmaceutical businesses that are involved in the "smart" parts of the market being attractive to UK and foreign acquirers, despite Brexit and other macro concerns.
Charles River Laboratories has acquired KWS BioTest in a deal that will expand the company’s immunology contract research services and geographical footprint. KWS BioTest is a UK-based contract research organization (CRO) that specializes in in vitro and in vivo discovery testing services for immuno-oncology as well as inflammatory and infectious diseases. James C. Foster, chairman, president and CEO of Charles River said the acquisition enhances the company’s position as a 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 United Kingdom,” he said in a press release. Charles River acquired KWS for approximately £15m ($20m) in cash.