LabCorp to buy Chiltern for $1.2 bln in cash

July 31 (Reuters) - Diagnostics company Laboratory Corp of America Holdings said on Monday it would buy privately owned contract research organization (CRO) Chiltern for nearly $1.2 billion in cash.

The CRO industry is undergoing a wave of consolidation as pharmaceutical companies strive to cut costs, reduce clinical trial times and expand their research and development presence.

Chiltern will become part of LabCorp's CRO unit, Covance, LabCorp said.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter this year. (Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)