Bristol spin-out acquired by global contract research organisation

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Professor Williams will retain his position as Chief Scientific Officer of KWS Biotest

19 February 2018

KWS BioTest, a spinout company from the University of Bristol, has been acquired by US-based Charles River Laboratories, for an initial purchase price of approximately £15 million.

KWS BioTest is a contract research organisation that works with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to help them develop new drugs for immuno-oncology and inflammatory and infectious diseases. It was established in 2003 by Professor Neil Williams from the University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts.

Professor Williams, who will retain his position as Chief Scientific Officer of KWS Biotest, commented on the acquisition:

“We believe that Charles River is an excellent home for KWS. Our unique combination of in vitro and in vivo discovery services for immunology, inflammatory and infectious diseases coupled with Charles River’s existing discovery capabilities, will greatly enhance our ability to better understand and develop new therapies in the therapeutic areas of immunology, immuno-oncology, inflammation and infection.

Importantly, all members of the KWS team remain engaged in the business   -  a testament to the value of the commercial ecosystem here at the University and in Bristol.

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, commented:

“The University of Bristol is known for producing world-class research, and we are proud of an environment which supports researchers’ ability to maximise and accelerate the impact of their research. The purchase of Bristol spin-out company, KWS Biotest, by Charles River, a major global contract research company, demonstrates a culture which aids the translation of research excellence into compelling, commercial propositions.”

James C. Foster, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charles River, said:

“The addition of KWS strategically expands Charles River’s existing discovery capabilities in the field of immunology, which is critical given the importance of new therapies which harness the human immune system. In addition to enhancing our position as the premier single-source provider for a broad portfolio of discovery services, KWS increases our ability to support clients’ early-stage drug research in critical therapeutic areas, and expands our geographic footprint in the United Kingdom.”

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