Charles River to Acquire viral vector CDMO Vigene Biosciences

May 21, 20210

Charles River Laboratories International has inked a deal to acquire gene therapy-focused Vigene Biosciences for USD 292.5 Mn in an all-cash deal, including an additional USD 57.5 Mn in performance-based payments. The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of the third quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory requirements and customary closing conditions.  

This agreement will add viral vector and plasmid DNA manufacturing solutions and boost Charles River’s in this high-growth, value-added cell and gene therapy CDMO sector. Recently, Charles River Laboratories also acquired gene therapy-based Cognate BioServices for USD 875 Mn, signing more than USD 1000 Mn in M&A outlays in cell & gene therapy networks so far in 2021.   

Under the terms of the agreement, Charles River will also get Vigene’s 110,000-square-foot headquarters and factory in Rockville, Maryland, containing more than 15 cleanroom suites. Vigene’s infrastructure facilities will support Charles River’s existing, US-based cell therapy production and enhance total output from the United Kingdom and Sweden, acquired in the Cognate Biosciences deal. The acquisition will complement Charles River’s efforts to develop viral vectors for gene therapies and vaccine production using Vigene’s cGMP viral vector manufacturing facilities and aid Charles River is growing geographically.  

US-based Charles River focuses on discovering early-stage development and safe manufacture of novel drugs and therapeutics and has realized an annual revenue of USD 2920 Mn in 2020. Vigene is most commonly associated with adeno-associated virus (AAV) cGMP production and other major viral vectors like lentivirus. Vigene is expected to generate annual revenue of USD 30 to 35 Mn in 2021 and is expected to grow at least 25% annually over the next five years, which will be accretive to Charles River’s long-term revenue and earnings per share growth. The acquisition is complementary to Charles River’s existing, non-clinical development for gene-modified cell therapies, gene therapies, and vaccine production. 

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