AstraZeneca taps Charles River Laboratories to test early-stage experimental drugs

Charles River Laboratories International Inc. said Wednesday that it has been selected by AstraZeneca PLC to perform early-stage experimental drug testing for the Anglo-Swedish drug maker.

Headquartered in Wilmington, Charles River provides a range of products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies, and academic institutions to accelerate their research-and-drug development efforts. AstraZeneca has a big research center in Waltham.

In the case of AstraZeneca, Charles River said in a press release that it will help test AstraZeneca drug candidates before they are advanced to clinical trials that test those drugs on humans.

The three-year agreement with AstraZeneca extends into 2015, said Charles River, which is not disclosing the financial details of what it is describing as a “strategic partnership.’’

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