WILMINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 23, 2007 - Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. (NYSE:CRL) announced today the expansion of its global footprint in Asia as part of its strategy to support customers' research and development efforts in this rapidly growing market. As pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies increase their presence in Asia, Charles River intends to remain the strategic partner of choice to fully support customers' global needs from drug discovery through proof of concept.
The first phase of this expansion includes the signing of a joint venture agreement with Shanghai BioExplorer Co., Ltd., a Shanghai, China-based provider of preclinical services, to form Charles River Laboratories Preclinical Services - China. The joint venture will be majority owned and controlled by Charles River. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including Chinese regulatory approval, and is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2007.
As part of this agreement, Charles River will construct a 50,000-square-foot preclinical services facility in Shanghai. The facility, which is expected to open in mid-2008, will provide a wide range of discovery and development services, including GLP and non-GLP toxicology studies. These services will meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's and Charles River's standards for quality, as well as Charles River's stringent animal welfare policies. Charles River intends to use its own research models in the new Shanghai facility, which the Company believes will enhance the quality of the studies performed there.
James C. Foster, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Charles River Laboratories, commented, "Charles River Laboratories intends to be the leading global contract research organization to provide preclinical services in China that are compliant with international regulatory agencies. This exciting project is the next step in a strategy that demonstrates our continued commitment to invest in the growth of our business and to support our global customer base. We expect demand for both research models and preclinical services in Asia to significantly increase over the next several years as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies expand their research efforts in this market, and we intend to play a leading role in this emerging opportunity."