Charles River expands Discovery Services

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Charles river Medical imaging Oncology Magnetic resonance imaging

Charles River Laboratories has agreed to buy US-based drug discovery imaging expert Molecular Imaging Research, Inc. (MIR) for approximately $12.5m (€8.8m) in cash.

The acquisition of privately-held MIR will bolster Charles River’s Discovery Services division with a range of state of the art, non-invasive imaging technologies and expertise that enable pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers to visualise the effectiveness of their drug candidates.

This latest purchase comes just a month after Charles River announced it had agreed to buy German safety and quality control services firm NewLab BioQuality to bolster its biopharmaceutical services business.

MIR’s portfolio of imaging techniques enables the CRO (contract research organisation) to offer noninvasive and quantitative analysis services that determine both the efficacy and mechanism of action of a potential drug.

“At MIR, we have dedicated ourselves to improving the drug development process by building a leading preclinical imaging business with drug discovery expertise in key therapeutic areas,”​ said Dr W.R. “Dick” Leopold, CEO of MIR.

“By joining with Charles River, we will be able to extend our joint reach and aide our clients in finding treatments for cancer and other devastating diseases.”

The company has developed a range of methods for determining the effectiveness of anticancer treatments and anti-inflammatory drugs for rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammation.

These involve using techniques like positron emission tomography (PET), preclinical micro-computed tomography (CT), anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and bioluminescence and fluorescence biophotonic imaging techniques to study the effects of drugs in both in vivo​ and in vitro ​disease models.

Because tumours and inflammation occur deep within model systems, it can be difficult to study the effects of drugs on a sample using traditional analysis methods.

However, by using multiple imaging techniques that can monitor the size and nature of a tumour without needing to dissect a sample, extra mechanistic insight can be gained that can lead to a more precise evaluation of a candidate drugs suitability.

"As pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies increasingly seek the means to accelerate their drug development efforts, in vivo imaging is becoming a key tool in making more effective and informed “go/no-go” decisions early in the drug development process,” ​said James Foster, CEO of Charles River.

“The addition of MIR’s oncology and inflammation therapeutic expertise and state-of-the-art in vivo imaging capabilities allows Charles River Discovery Services to offer a broader portfolio of efficacy testing services to better support our clients’ needs. We welcome MIR Preclinical Services to the Charles River family."

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