CRL names new regional heads of combined RMS-PCS units

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Contract research organization, Vice president

US CRO Charles River Laboratories (CRL) has rejigged its upper management as part of a business realignment that unifies its regional research model and preclinical development businesses.

Davide Molho, current global head of research models (RMS), takes responsibility for RMS and preclinical services (PCS) in North America with Jorg Geller, head or RMS in Europe and Asia, takes control of PCS in both regions.

In addition, Nancy Gillett has been named as corporate executive vice president and chief scientific officer, which is a newly created position with scientific oversight of all of the contract research organisation’s (CRO) global operations.

The decision to forge stronger links between RMS and PCS has been coming for some time as CRL has sought to combat falling demand for preclinical services and take advantage of increasing demand for research models.

Presumably the thinking is that closer ties between the two units in their respective geographies will make it more likely customers coming to CRL for late-stage discovery services will continue working with the CRO at the preclinical development stage.

Late-stage discovery opportunity

The realignment also fits with comments CRL made earlier this month​, when it predicted that Big Pharma demand for outsourced late-discovery services, such as those offered by its RMS unit, will increase considerably in the coming years.

At the time CRL CEO James Foster said that: “[Outsourcing] discovery is new for [our clients] and they’re not going to be comfortable until companies like us to have the scientific capability to do the work.”

He went on to suggest that the firm is also looking at making acquisitions in late-phase discovery, with the emphasis being on smaller companies with niche capabilities.

Analyst view

Jefferies & Co analyst David Windley agreed with CRL’s view of the market, suggesting in a note that: “The growing interest in late-discovery outsourcing has created a business opportunity that is optimised by combining animal model science with study conduct operational skills​.”

He also said that Dr Gillet’s experience in M&A is worth keeping in mind given Foster previous comments.

But, despite being relatively upbeat about CRLs realignment and management reshuffle, Windley did express some concerns about the specific personnel involved.

The geographic presidents are both RMS people. PCS seems to play second fiddle here​,” he suggested.

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