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Charles River Labs Says It Will Close San Diego Research Facility

Xconomy San Diego — 

Contract research organization Charles River Labs is shutting down its San Diego-area operations, moving the work done there to one of its two Northern California sites.

In a filing with California’s Employment Development Department, Wilmington, MA-based Charles River (NYSE: CRL) said it would lay off 24 workers by May 20 in connection with the closure. The company does early-stage drug research for biopharma companies, biotechs, government agencies, and academia; it claims to have done outsourced work for each of the 100 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Charles River says it was involved with about 85 percent of the drugs approved by the FDA last year.

Charles River has about 15,000 employees across 80 sites in 20 countries.

The decision to close the site in San Diego was part of the company’s “continuing efforts to streamline operations and enhance efficiencies,” a Charles River spokesperson said in a statement. “Charles River is committed to maintaining its world-class client service and will ensure that the site closure will not impact availability or service. As part of this difficult but necessary decision, we are working with employees to ensure appropriate support and resources are in place as they seek new employment opportunities, both within and outside the company.”

In California, the company also has sites in the town of Hollister and in South San Francisco. The work done in San Diego—the breeding of rodents that scientists use to test compounds—will be moved to Hollister, which is about 90 miles from San Francisco.

The decision to close the San Diego location comes as Charles River has recently emphasized strategic acquisitions as a key part of its vision for the business. In February, the company announced it had agreed acquire Citoxlab, a preclinical services provider in Europe, for about $510 million. In 2018 it acquired MPI Research and KWS BioTest. That year it took in revenue of $2.27 billion, 22 percent more than in 2017. Charles River attributed about 8.7 percent to organic growth. The company says it anticipates organic growth of 8 percent to 9.5 percent in 2019.