Charles River snags partner Distributed Bio for $83M

Distributed Bio adds large-molecule discovery platform to Charles River's repertoire

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Charles River snags partner Distributed Bio for $83M

WILMINGTON, Mass.—Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. shared news on Jan. 4 that it had acquired Distributed Bio as of Dec. 31, 2020. The two companies have been working together under an exclusive partnership since October 2018.

According to Charles River, the addition of Distributed Bio boosts its scientific capabilities “with an innovative, large-molecule discovery platform.” Distributed Bio brings with it antibody libraries and an immuno-engineering platform that, when combined with Charles River's drug discovery and non-clinical development expertise, creates “an integrated, end-to-end platform for therapeutic antibody and cell and gene therapy discovery and development.”

“The addition of Distributed Bio’s next-generation antibody discovery capabilities further enhances Charles River’s unique ability to serve as a single-source partner to support our clients’ early-stage research. Our successful partnership has already generated significant client interest, and we believe our broader platform will continue to attract new discovery business opportunities,” James C. Foster, chairman, president and CEO of Charles River Laboratories, commented in a press release regarding the transaction. “Distributed Bio’s large-molecule discovery platform fills a gap in our portfolio and expands our early discovery expertise in a complex drug modality that few CROs can successfully offer. With its focus on speed and design efficiency, we believe the acquisition of Distributed Bio will enable us to build upon the more than 80 novel small-molecule candidates that we have discovered for our clients and meet our goal of eliminating an additional year from our clients’ early-stage development timelines. We are pleased to welcome Distributed Bio to the Charles River family.”

Per the terms of the transaction, Charles River acquired Distributed Bio for $83 million in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments, with contingent additional payments of up to $21 million based on future performance. Following the acquisition, Distributed Bio is slated to become part of Charles River's Discovery and Safety Assessment business. Charles River does not expect this deal to have a material impact on its GAAP or non-GAAP financial results in 2021.

Distributed Bio's platform includes its SuperHuman antibody libraries, which are computationally organized for sequence diversity as well as immuno-engineering fitness by analyzing thousands of human antibody repertoires and all known monoclonal therapeutics in clinical trials. The platform increases the chances of finding a successful hit, in addition to reducing optimization requirements and accelerating the discovery process. The company also boasts computational immunology expertise for optimizing existing client antibodies generated through traditional platforms, including hybridoma or traditional phage display.

“We believe our clients’ willingness to outsource more of their discovery programs will be predicated on our ability to continue to add innovative capabilities to meet our clients’ critical research needs, which we are accomplishing through strategic acquisitions and our partnership strategy. Distributed Bio is an example of our selective technology investments potentially becoming acquisitions after working with the target company for a meaningful period of time to provide its services to our clients. By adding innovative capabilities like large-molecule discovery, we are enabling our clients to remain with one scientific partner from target identification through IND filing and solidifying our position as the leading early-stage contract research organization,” Foster remarked.

Photo courtesy of Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash


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