WIL Research acquires Ricerca facility in Lyon, France

Acquisition of the Ricerca asset doubles WIL's capacity within Europe, which until now has mostly been chemical and agrochemical

Jeffrey Bouley
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ASHLAND, Ohio—WIL Research, a global contract research organization (CRO)in the pharmaceutical, chemical and agrochemical industries, recentlyacquired Ricerca Biosciences LLC's pharmaceutical services business locatedin Lyon, France.
According to the CRO, this addition of a 18,000-square meter facilityfortifies its service offerings in Europe, strengthens itsnonclinical safety assessment capability, and expands its portfolio ofinnovative specialty services.
"As we listened to our clients and analyzed emerging trends in thepharmaceutical marketplace, it became clear that expansion of ourbiologic capabilities in Europe was the right move for us," said DavidSpaight, WIL Research's chairman and CEO. "The Lyonoperation leverages our existing capabilities in the United States andthe Netherlands and creates a powerful new platform to deliverexceptional value to our clients. This definitive acquisition willdouble our capacity in Europe, strengthen our offerings to clients andenable WIL Research to accelerate the healthy growth rate we haveachieved over the past three years in a challenging market environment."
From the perspective of Ricerca Biosciences,"This divestiture will fund significant capital investment into ourConcord, Ohio business allowing us to expand and re-invigorate ourintegrated drug development services in chemical development, drugsubstance production, and drug safety and metabolism," said Dr. Michael Placke, president of Ricerca.
Renamed WIL Research Europe–Lyon, the lab will retain itsapproximately 280 employees. Long-time managing director of thefacility, Stéphane Bulle, will continue to lead the site and keep hiscurrent senior leadership team intact.
"While this acquisition expands our integrated safety assessment andassociated services for pharmaceutical companies, it also enables us toenhance our focus on the chemical and agrochemical industries via ourexpert scientific staff in Den Bosch, The Netherlands," added Spaight.
WIL Research now has approximately 1,200 staff worldwide and 63,000square meters of laboratory space, covering safety assessment, biologic analysis, pathology and formulation

Sterne Agee analyst Greg T. Bolan write that with the recent acquisition of Ricerca'spharmaceutical services business in Lyon, WILResearch's market share jumps to 7 percent from 5 percent of the preclinicalCRO market.
"While below optimal capacity utilization rates continue andelimination of capacity appears more attractive to us, we think WIL'saction suggests that a market for preclinical CRO assets does exist," Agee noted. "WIL's acquisition of the Ricerca asset doubles its capacity withinEurope, which until now has mostly been chemical and agrochemical...WIL's action suggests that even withcontinued malaise in the preclinical CRO market, there is 'liquidity'for preclinical assets. Given our belief that a resurgence inpreclinical study activity will emerge over the coming years, we thinkWIL's purchase could prove quite astute."

Jeffrey Bouley

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