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Charles River Labs buys Maryland firm for $292m

The Wilmington-based drug research company is acquiring Vigene Biosciences, a gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization.

Inside Charles River Labs in Wilmington.
Inside Charles River Labs in Wilmington.The Boston Globe/Boston Globe

Charles River Laboratories, the Wilmington-based drug research company, said Monday it has signed a deal to buy Vigene Biosciences, a Maryland gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization, for $292.5 million.

The deal comes three months after Charles River announced it was acquiring Cognate BioServices, another cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization, based in Memphis, for $875 million.

James C. Foster, chairman and chief executive of Charles River, said the “addition of Vigene Biosciences’ extensive gene therapy expertise will enable us to expand our comprehensive cell and gene therapy portfolio” for the drug makers who are his firm’s customers.


In addition to the initial purchase price, Rockville, Md.-based Vigene is eligible for up to $57.5 million based on how well it meets certain goals. The deal is expected to close in the beginning of the third quarter of this year.

Charles River’s share price on the New York Stock Exchange fell nearly 2 percent on Monday, closing at $322.71.

Charles River provides a number of services to the pharmaceutical industry, including testing experimental medicines on animals for safety and efficacy. A global company with operations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, and China, Charles River has more than 17,000 employees worldwide.

An earlier version of this story misidentified the stock exchange where Charles River Laboratories is listed.

Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.