Charles River Laboratories International has agreed to acquire human-derived cellular products provider HemaCare for around $380m in cash.
HemaCare has expertise in the customisation of human-derived biological products and services for biomedical research, drug discovery, and cellular therapy process development.
HemaCare provides a range of human primary cell types and cell processing services that will help discover, develop and manufacture cell therapies, including allogeneic (donor-derived cells) and autologous (patient-derived cells) programmes.
HemaCare president and CEO Pete van der Wal said: “We are very pleased to be joining the Charles River team, which is widely recognized as the industry-leading, early-stage contract research organization.”
The acquisition of HemaCare will help Charles River to expand its early-stage research and manufacturing support solutions for the production and customisation of human-derived cellular products to support clients’ cell therapy programmes.
The acquired business, along with Charles River’s integrated, early-stage portfolio of discovery, safety assessment, and manufacturing support services, will create a comprehensive solution for cell therapy developers and manufacturers to expedite their critical programmes from basic research and proof-of-concept to regulatory approval and commercialisation.
Subject to receipt of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to be completed early in the first quarter of 2020.
BofA Securities is serving as financial advisor to Charles River, while Davis Polk & Wardwell is acting as Charles River’s transactional legal counsel, and Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider is serving as antitrust counsel.
Jefferies is acting as financial advisor to HemaCare, while Greenberg Traurig is serving as HemaCare’s transactional legal counsel.
Charles River Laboratories president and CEO James Foster said: “Cell and gene therapies are important new modalities, with an estimated 10 to 20 new product approvals per year within five years.
“In order to continue to enhance our ability to support our clients’ research efforts, particularly in biologics discovery and development, we are expanding our scientific capabilities in this emerging, high-growth market with the acquisition of HemaCare.”
In January this year, Charles River collaborated with Atomwise on integrated and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery.