Charles River (CRL) Partners to Reduce Animal Research Usage

Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. CRL recently announced the launch of its Virtual Control Groups (“VCG”) initiative with Sanofi. The companies are working together to reduce animal usage by replacing selected control group animals with selected matched virtual control animals developed using retrospective datasets.

The VCG collaboration is a project guided by Charles River’s Alternative Methods Advancement Project (“AMAP”), an initiative focused on reducing the use of animals in research. The development is likely to boost the company’s Discovery and Safety Assessment (“DSA”) segment.

More on AMAP

As the company enters the next frontier of drug development, AMAP will facilitate strategic and purposeful investing to pave the path where more patients receive needed treatments and medicines safely, swiftly and successfully. Upholding the commitment to the 4Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement and Responsibility), Charles River pursues scientific and technological innovations to explore new and exciting ways to further reduce the use of animals in testing.

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The guidance of AMAP will help the company align its investments, partnerships, product and service initiatives and advocacy efforts toward the goal of investing $300 million in the next five years to further enhance this critical mission and drive the industry-wide adoption of alternatives.

News in Detail

A VCG is a data-driven, digital creation based on robust historical study data, parameters and complex statistical methodology. VCGs are an established practice in some clinical trials. However, the application to preclinical research is new. Charles River is partnering with internal and external stakeholders, including regulators and leaders from the biopharmaceutical industry, to advance this research. Charles River and Sanofi are collaborating to pilot VCGs in non-clinical toxicology programs and explore their use.

Charles River is uniquely positioned to combine the science of toxicology with the power of machine learning to drive greater use of VCGs for non-clinical research across the industry. According to the company representative, their unmatched breadth of data provides a powerful database of study parameters. This historical information will be leveraged to reduce control group animals and provide clients with meaningful study results.

Industry Prospects

Per a Research report, the global animal model market surpassed $2.48 billion in 2023 and is expected to witness an 8.71% CAGR by 2033.

The utilization of animal models in early pharmaceutical research contributes significantly to market growth by providing crucial data for assessing the effectiveness and safety of potential medicines. Animal research serves as a key driver of growth in the biomedical science market despite ethical challenges as it offers essential insights into the physiopathology and treatment alternatives for both animal and human diseases.

Other Developments in the DSA Segment

In April 2024, Charles River announced the launch of Patholytix Foresight, a non-clinical artificial intelligence decision support tool developed in collaboration with Deciphex. By combining Deciphex’s unique digital pathology solutions with Charles River’s robust non-clinical pathology programs, clients of both organizations will have access to technology-driven capabilities to accelerate primary evaluation and peer review in toxicologic pathology assessment, enhancing decision-making in drug discovery and safety assessment.  

Price Performance

Over the past year, Charles River shares have risen 4.4% compared with the industry’s growth of 4.8%.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Charles River currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Hims & Hers Health HIMS, Medpace MEDP and ResMed RMD. Each of them presently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 stocks here.

Hims & Hers Heath stock has surged 140.5% in the past year. Estimates for the company’s earnings have remained constant at 18 cents in 2024 and increased 3.1% to 33 cents in 2025 in the past 30 days.

HIMS’ earnings beat estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed in one, delivering an average surprise of 79.2%. In the last reported quarter, it posted an earnings surprise of a staggering 150%.

Estimates for Medpace’s 2024 earnings per share have moved up to $11.29 from $11.23 in the past 30 days. Shares of the company have surged 86.1% in the past year compared with the industry’s 4.8% growth.

MEDP’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 12.8%. In the last reported quarter, it delivered an average earnings surprise of 30.6%.

Estimates for ResMed’s fiscal 2024 earnings per share have moved to $7.70 from $7.64 in the past 30 days. Shares of the company have declined 1.4% in the past year against the industry’s rise of 4.9%.

RMD’s earnings surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and missed in one, the average surprise being 2.8%. In the last reported quarter, it delivered an earnings surprise of 10.9%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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