CRL's 2009 preclinical sales slide; but 2010 bookings up

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Revenue

Falling preclinical demand may have dominated Charles River Laboratories’ (CRL) performance in 2009, but stagnant sales from its research models business also failed to impress.

Revenues from CRL’s preclinical research division fell nearly 21 to $542.6m last year due, according to the Massachusetts contract research organisation (CRO), to lower demand, currency fluctuations and the sale of its Phase I unit in Scotland​.

The decline was not unexpected given CRL’s recent​ decision to halt operations at its facility in Shrewsbury as well as the general drop in preclinical demand that other contract research players have reported for 2009.

The revenue contribution from CRL’s other core business, research models and services (RMS), was flat with respect to 2008 at $660m.

The firm said that “softer demand” and the sale of its Mexico vaccines business had offset gains its RMS business made through the acquisition of PPD’s Piedmont Research Center​ and Cerebricon​.

As a result, CRLs sales for the full year were down, falling some 10.5 per cent to $1.2bn.Net income for 2009 looks more positive at first glance, climbing to $114.4m from a net loss of $524.5m in 2008.

However, the 2008 figures included a $700m charge which, if excluded meant that net income for 2009 was $155.9m, down from the 199.8m it posted for the previous 12 month period.

Bookings up in 2010

Despite the declines, CRL CEO James Foster was optimistic about 2010, commenting that strong preclinical bookings for Q1 and positive indications for Q2 suggest drug industry clients are beginning to reinvigorate their research efforts.

We anticipate improvement in demand for our broad portfolio of essential products and service in 2010 and, as the year progresses, sales and earnings growth​.”

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