Overview

For more than 70 years, we have seen technologies advance and new diseases emerge. Our one-man laboratory has evolved into a worldwide support network, allowing us to act as a steadfast partner to our clients, from discovery to lot release testing. By carefully cultivating our portfolio, our growth has become a continuous strategic effort in anticipating tomorrow’s drug development needs. While we can’t predict what the future holds, we continue to kindle the spark that inspired our founding: an urgency to advance human health by supporting our clients’ research every step of the way.

  • Early Years (1947-1990)

    1947

    Dr. Henry Foster founds Charles River Breeding Laboratories in Boston, Massachusetts.

    1955

    The company’s headquarters is relocated to Wilmington, Massachusetts and begins commercial production of pathogen-free rodents by utilizing the industry’s first barrier-type building for rat production.

    1956

    The first Caesarean-Originated, Barrier Sustained (COBS®) animals are introduced, which become the new industry standard for animal production.

    1966

    Charles River becomes an international company with the opening of a new animal production facility in France.

    1969

    Astromice® become the first earth animals to be exposed to moon dust prior to the release from quarantine of Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

    1981

    The company institutes the first commercial comprehensive genetic monitoring program.

    1984

    Virus Antibody Free (VAF/Plus®) animals are introduced, setting the standard for high-quality research models. 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; Henry and Jim Foster continue to run company.

    1987

    The first commercial transgenic strain Oncomouse is produced and transferred to Charles River from Dupont.

    1988

    Charles River enters the field of transgenic services with the arrival of the first transgenic mice for care and breeding.

  • More than a Mouse (1991-2000)

    1992

    The company expands its offerings with the purchase of Specific Pathogen Antigen Free Avian Services (SPAFAS), specializing in the production of eggs and poultry and serologic diagnostic services from Merck, Sharp, and Dohme.

    1994

    In vitro endotoxin testing solutions become available from Charles River.

    1996

    Endosafe, Inc., a manufacturer of Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) products and provider of related services, is acquired.

    1997

    Jim Foster buys the company back from Bausch & Lomb.

    1998

    Charles River expands its portfolio to include biopharmaceutical services, offering a full range of biosafety and analytical testing.

    1999

    Sierra Biomedical, a company specializing in non-human primate toxicology testing, is acquired.

    2000

    The company goes public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CRL).

  • Growth in the 21st Century (2001-2013)

    2002

    Charles River launches the Humane Care Initiative, which is designed to raise awareness and provide employee training on the importance of animal welfare.

    The Boston Globe names Charles River “Company of the Year.”

    2005

    Preconditioning Services are introduced, providing clients with animals that meet all of their specifications at time of delivery.

    2008

    A new facility in Frederick, Maryland is opened to support Charles River’s partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and part of the company’s ten-year, $111.6-million contract with the Institute.

    NewLab Bioquality AG, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based contract service organization and privately-held MIR Preclinical Services, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company are acquired.

    2009

    Piedmont Research Center, LLC in Morrisville, NC and Cerebricon, Ltd. in Finland are acquired.

    Charles River signs a partnership agreement with MPM Capital to advance underfunded compounds with therapeutic promise to proof of concept as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    2012

    EUREKA, an online community for inspired scientists to explore, connect, and share ideas is launched.

    Accugenix, the premier global provider of cGMP-compliant contract microbial identification testing, is acquired, strengthening its Endotoxin and Microbial Detection portfolio.

    2013

    Acquisition of Vital River allows Charles River to provide high-quality research models and services to an emerging market for drug discovery and development in China, setting standards for research models in the third-largest pharmaceutical market in the world.

  • Every Step of the Way (2014-Present)

    2014

    Argenta and BioFocus are acquired, positioning Charles River as a full service, early-stage contract research organization (CRO), with integrated in vitro and in vivo capabilities from target discovery through preclinical development.

    ChanTest, a leading provider of cardiac risk assessment and ion channel screening, is acquired.

    2015

    The Avian Vaccine Services business is bolstered with the acquisition of Sunrise Farms, Inc.

    Celsis International joins Charles River’s Endotoxin and Microbial Detection lineup, providing rapid microbial detection to the pharmaceutical, consumer care, and dairy, beverage, and food industries.

    Oncotest GmbH is acquired, expanding Charles River’s oncology capabilities in its Discovery Services business segment.

    2016

    WIL Research is acquired to further enhance the company’s ability to provide safety assessment and contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) services globally.

    Blue Stream Laboratories is added to Charles River’s portfolio, enhancing analytical capabilities and providing clients with a complete solution for their biologic and biosimilar development.

    Agilux Laboratories is purchased, providing new and expanded scientific proficiencies to support research needs from target identification and validation through preclinical development.

    2017

    Brains On-Line, a CRO that provides data that helps advance novel therapeutics for the treatment of central nervous system diseases, is acquired.

    2018

    KWS BioTest, a leading CRO specializing in in vitro and in vivo discovery testing is acquired, expanding the company’s expertise in immunology.

    MPI Research, a non-clinical CRO providing comprehensive testing services to biopharmaceutical and medical devices worldwide, is acquired, enhancing Charles River’s position as a premier early-stage CRO.