Founded 60 years ago, Charles River was initially engaged in the production of research models for biomedical research. Over the past six decades, we have seen a dramatic evolution in the needs of our customers. In order to meet those needs, we have launched new businesses and grown existing businesses. These changes have transformed our company into a leading global provider of essential products and services that advance research in the drug discovery and development industry.
The company works on behalf of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, government and academic organizations during all stages of drug development: from the discovery of new compounds and preclinical pharmacological and safety studies, to clinical trials in human subjects.
In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, Dr. Henry Foster, a young veterinarian, founds Charles River Breeding Laboratories in Boston, MA with the goal of supplying the research community with a new standard of laboratory animal models. He purchased several thousand rat cages for $1,200 from the Sunny Hill Rat Farm in Virginia and set up a lab in a second floor loft overlooking the Charles River on Leverett Street in Boston, MA.
It is a one man-company: Dr. Foster handles the breeding, feeding and husbandry tasks himself. He takes orders by phone, packs the animals and personally delivers them to his clients. This work is conducted under the company name, Charles River Breeding Laboratories.
New quality control program instituted to eradicate salmonellosis contamination.
Dr. Foster moves his company to Wilmington, Massachusetts to a remodeled ranch-style house sitting on 42 acres of land. As customer demands grow, so does the business, making it necessary to rebuild the site to accommodate offices for Customer Service, Company Executives, and Administration.
Dr. Foster secures a $100,000 loan from the Small Business Administration to begin commercial production of pathogen-free rodents. He uses flexible film isolators developed by pioneer Philip Trexler, Associate Director of the Lobund Institute of the University of Notre Dame. Trexler taught the major suppliers of lab animals how to derive their animal stocks and strains into the “germ-free” or axenic state, thereby freeing them of the numerous infectious disease agents plaguing biomedical research.
Charles River develops non-pathogenic bacteria to inoculate animals and reinforce digestive and immune responses.
A new addition to the Charles River complex is the industry’s first barrier-type building for rat production.
First Caesarean-Originated, Barrier Sustained (COBS®) animals are introduced, the new industry standard for animal production.
Charles River Mouse Farms becomes the 3rd building in the rapidly growing Charles River complex; now adding mice to its inventory. Charles River Mouse Farms and Charles River Breeding Laboratories ran as two separate companies that were later combined into one.
Charles River surpasses $1 million in sales.
The germ-free laboratory is completed, the largest facility for the production of germ-free and gnotobiotic rats and mice in the world.
Charles River becomes an international company with the opening of a new animal production facility in France. It was built from the ground up, driven by demand for more than 12,000 rodents a week.
After twenty years of operation as a privately-owned company, Charles River begins a successful history as a publicly-traded NASDAQ company through an initial public offering of its common stock.
Charles River’s sales reach $4.2 million.
Astromice® play an integral role in the Apollo 11 mission, as they are the first earth animals to be exposed to moon dust prior to the release of Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins from quarantine. They are shipped to NASA’s Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston to be tested for any adverse effects resulting from this exposure.
Charles River acquires the Lakeview Company in Newfield, New Jersey, which specializes in hamsters and guinea pigs.
Charles River establishes a base for animal breeding in Canada with the purchase of Canadian Breeding Farms and Laboratories. Since then Charles River has become the largest breeder of lab rodents in Canada.
Acquisition of Scientific Products Farm Limited and Canterbury Products in the United Kingdom, which later becomes Charles River UK-Margate, Kent. This facility is located on the Manston Air Force Base.
Charles River buys Carworth Farms, adding two large Research Model facilities in Stoneridge, NY and Portage, MI. Carworth Farms bred and sold animals for Becton Dickinson, a medical technology company specializing in medical supplies.
The Company forms a joint venture with Ajinomoto Corporation in Japan to build the first of three production facilities for laboratory rodents.
Dr. Foster establishes the Charles River Foundation, Inc. (now called CHARTER – Charles River Commitment to Humane Animal Research Through Excellence and Responsibility), a nonprofit, tax-exempt public foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to fund organizations and projects whose principle goal is to educate the public about biomedical research, enhance education to further the humane care of laboratory animals and/or advance the concepts (values) of the three Rs (reduction, refinement and replacement).
Charles River’s sales reach $35 million.
First commercial comprehensive genetic monitoring program instituted.
The Company acquires miniature swine facilities from Battelle Development Corporation.
Charles River acquires Wiga, an independent animal breeder in West Germany. The facility was remodeled to accommodate barrier production rooms, it later became Charles River Germany.
Charles River Biotechnical Services is established as a standalone health-monitoring laboratory. It has grown into the world’s largest rodent health monitoring laboratory providing both commercial services and internal quality control for Charles River products and services.
First commercial production of ascites, using mice.
One-third of all Charles River sales takes place outside of the United States.
Charles River sets the standard for high-quality research models with the introduction of Virus Antibody Free (VAF/Plus®) animals. This term refers to a form of specific pathogen-free status and has become an acronym in its own right for a specific quality of animal.
Bausch & Lomb acquires Charles River. The annual sales at the time of purchase were $44 million. The name of the Company is officially changed from Charles River Breeding Laboratories to Charles River Laboratories. Bausch & Lomb is attracted by the Company’s steady earnings stream. Both Henry and Jim Foster continue with the Company during the Bausch & Lomb transition.
Charles River buys Ivanovas of West Germany. This small breeder was located in southern Germany with its main animal production facility located in the town of Kisslegg. (Two other small breeding operations are acquired in other German towns but are later closed.)
Acquisition of the Yucatan mini pig facility from the Ray Kroc Foundation at the Colorado State University swine laboratory. A production facility for these animals is established in Windham, Maine.
State-of-the-art rodent production facility is constructed in Raleigh, NC.
Charles River acquires SASCO, a small Midwestern animal breeder. Their facilities are located in Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin and they produce low-cost animals for the academic market.
Charles River sells first hairless guinea pigs acquired from Montreal’s Institute Armand Frappier (IAF).
The first commercial transgenic strain Onccomouse is produced and transferred to Charles River from Dupont.
Charles River establishes distribution facilities in Barcelona, Spain.
Charles River enters the field of transgenic services with the arrival of the first transgenic mice for care and breeding.
Charles River acquires Iffa Credo, the largest breeder in France formerly owned by the Institut Mérieux. It has facilities in Belgium, France, and The Netherlands.
A breeding facility and a diagnostic laboratory are established in Budapest, Hungary.
A breeding facility is set up in Prague, Czech Republic.
Charles River expands its offerings with the purchase of Specific Pathogen Antigen Free Avian Services (SPAFAS), specializing in the production of eggs and providing poultry and serologic diagnostic services, from Merck, Sharp and Dohme.
A state-of-the-art rodent production facility is constructed in Hollister, California.
A third rodent production facility is built in Tsukuba, Japan.
Development of the Gold Standard genetic management program of outbred laboratory animals.
Charles River acquires East Acres Biological in specializing in large-animal contract research services as well as polyclonal antibody production in domestic farm animals and rabbits.
Charles River acquires Endosafe Inc, a manufacturer of LAL (Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate) products and a provider of in vitro endotoxin services.
First publication of online health reports for all North American production rooms at www.criver.com.
Purchase of Atlas Bioscan Limited - first direct distribution of endotoxin services in the UK.
Charles River’s sales reach $200 million.
Bausch & Lomb’s CEO resigns and the new CEO decides to shed operations outside of its core activities in eyecare. Jim Foster succeeds in buying back the company.
Committed to innovation and the advancement of science, Charles River introduces the International Genetic Standard (IGS) CD® rat.
Contract testing is expanded to include Biopharmaceutical Services, offering a full range of biosafety and analytical testing.
Acquisition of Sierra Biomedical is completed.
Charles River Laboratories goes public on the New York Stock Exchange trading under the ticker symbol CRL.
In order to better support our customers’ drug discovery and development process, Charles River broadens its portfolio with Preclinical Services, including pharmacology, toxicology, and pharmacokinetics.
Successful acquisition and integration of Pathology Associates International (PAI) and Primedica into the Charles River family.
The Company acquires Genetic Models, Inc. (GMI) of Indianapolis, Indiana, the leading provider of diabetic rat models for biomedical research. GMI enabled the company to expand its product line to higher-value and more predictive disease models for the discovery of new treatments against obesity, cardiovascular, and kidney ailments.
Charles River Foundation, Inc. changes its name to Charles River Laboratories Foundation, Inc.
Acquisition of BioLabs, a drug development and discovery company in Ireland.
Acquisition of Springborn Laboratories, a leading provider of testing services for preclinical drug discovery and development, principally in evaluating the safety of new drug candidates before they enter clinical trials.
Charles River implements the Humane Care Initiative, which is designed to raise awareness and provide additional training to all employees on the importance of animal welfare.
Named “Company of the Year” by The Boston Globe.
Charles River’s sales reach $500 million.
Charles River strengthens its leadership position by acquiring River Valley Farms, a leading provider of preclinical services to the medical device industry.
Charles River merges with Inveresk and establishes the company as a global leader in products and services spanning the drug discovery and development spectrum, which starts with the discovery of a drug compound and ends with the dispensing of a prescription at the local drugstore. The merger expanded the Company as a global footprint by providing a stronger presence of Preclinical Services in Europe and in Canada. It also added roughly 2,400 new employees and gave Charles River the opportunity to enter the Clinical Services business.
Charles River introduces Preconditioning Services to better accommodate clients with animals that meet all of their specifications at the time of delivery.
Charles River’s sales reach $1billion.
A significant strategic move results in the acquisition of Northwest Kinetics of Tacoma, Washington, which establishes a Phase I Clinical Services capacity in North America.
The Endosafe®-PTS a portable handheld device is licensed by the FDA as an endotoxin testing method for in-process and final product release testing.
2007- 60 Years in Business!
Joint venture with Shanghai BioExplorer Co., Ltd., a Shanghai, China-based provider of preclinical services, to form Charles River Laboratories Preclinical Services China.
Establishment of Charles River Endosafe Korea.
Opening of NCI Frederick Facility, Frederick, MD.
Opening of Preclinical Services China.
Charles River completes the acquisitions of Molecular Imaging Research, Inc. (MIR Preclinical Services) to enhance discovery and imaging services portfolio and Germany-based NewLab BioQuality AG to further develop the scientific depth, geographic scope and client base of global biopharmaceutical services offerings.
Charles River acquires Piedmont Research Center, LLC., to increase preclinical discovery capabilities, with a focus on efficacy studies in oncology and other therapeutic areas.
Charles River expands into Finland with the acquisition of Cerebricon, Ltd., which brings together MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques, biomarkers and behavioral measurements in gold standard assays for acute neurology (such as stroke and spinal cord injury), chronic neurology (including multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease) and psychiatry (exemplified by ADHD, schizophrenia and depression).
Charles River completes acquisition of Systems Pathology Company, LLC, a pathology-based software company developing the Computer Assisted Pathology System (CAPS™) that is designed to enhance the automation, objectivity, accuracy, consistency and throughput of traditional toxicologic pathology workflows.
Charles River signs partnership with MPM Capital in an innovative initiative targeted at advancing underfunded compounds with therapeutic promise to proof of concept as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Charles River Laboratories Foundation, Inc. changes its name to CHARTER – Charles River Commitment to Humane Animal Research Through Excellence and Responsibility.
Charles River UK receives AAALAC accreditation.
|| 2011 |
Charles River enters into a marketing and distribution agreement with Pfizer Inc. to provide certain Pfizer-developed genetically modified research models to the global biomedical research community.
Charles River launches its social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Charles River introduces the I-CRYO™ kit, a new product for cryopreserving mouse strains.
Charles River introduces Eureka, an online community for inspired scientists to explore, connect and share big ideas. The site profiles scientific professionals at Charles River and welcomes industry experts to share their research and opinions on thought-provoking industry topics and questions.
Charles River partners with EMD Millipore to incorporate EMD Millipore’s TrueSpike™ technology into viral clearance services that aim to improve drug product safety.