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)


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


    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.


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


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


    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.


    The company institutes the first commercial comprehensive genetic monitoring program.


    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.


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


    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)


    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.


    In vitro endotoxin testing solutions become available from Charles River.


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


    Jim Foster buys the company back from Bausch & Lomb.


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


    Sierra Biomedical, a company specializing in large animal toxicology testing, is acquired.


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

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


    Charles River launches the Humane Care Imperative, 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.”


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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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)


    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.


    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.


    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.


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


    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.

    Microgenetix, the premier provider of microbial identification services for biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, personal care, food, beverage, and dairy companies across Australia, is acquired, enhancing our position as the leading provider of microbial identification services by expanding our global geographic footprint.


    Citoxlab, a premier, non-clinical contract research organization (CRO), specializing in regulated safety assessment services, non-regulated discovery services, and medical device testing, is acquired, strengthening Charles River’s existing capabilities in general and specialty toxicology, preclinical medical device testing services, non-regulated discovery solutions, and genomics research.


    HemaCare, a leader in the production of human-derived cellular products for the cell therapy market, is acquired, expanding Charles River’s scientific capabilities in this emerging, high-growth sector.

    Cellero, a premier provider of cellular products for cell therapy developers and manufacturers worldwide, is acquired, enhancing the supply of critical biomaterials, including a wide range of human-derived primary cell types to support the discovery, development, and manufacture of cell therapies.


    Distributed Bio, a next-generation antibody discovery company, is acquired, expanding Charles River’s scientific capabilities with an innovative, large-molecule discovery platform.

    Cognate BioServices, a premier cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), is acquired, expanding Charles River’s scientific capabilities into the emerging, high-growth cell and gene therapy CDMO sector when combined with our integrated portfolio of manufacturing support services, including biologics testing, cell supply, and safety testing.

    Retrogenix, an early-stage CRO providing specialized bioanalytical services utilizing its proprietary cell microarray technology, is acquired, further strengthening Charles River’s integrated, end-to-end solution for therapeutic antibody and cell and gene therapy discovery and development.


    Vigene Biosciences, a leading contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) providing viral vector-based gene delivery solutions, is acquired, strengthening our ability to support our clients with end-to-end cell and gene therapy support.