Celebrating 70 Years

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Dr. Foster weighing a rat

When Dr. Henry Foster began the company in 1947, he had little more than 1,000 rat cages and a personal mission to support local researchers in their quest for a cure. Driven to create a new standard for laboratory animal models, the young veterinarian single-handedly bred, fed, and cared for the animals he personally delivered to his clients’ laboratories. Their demand fueled what eventually became Charles River Breeding Laboratories.

This May, James C. Foster celebrated his father’s legacy by ringing the opening bell at the NYSE in recognition of the company’s 70th anniversary. As Charles River’s current Chairman, President, and CEO, Jim Foster has shepherded the company into the 21st century with a faithful commitment to his father’s vision to advance human health by supporting research.

James C. Foster at the New York Stock Exchange
James C. Foster, Chairman, President & CEO, is on hand to open the market at the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo Credit: NYSE)

Now a global contract research organization with more than 11,000 employees in 70 facilities around the world, Charles River continues to grow and evolve, keeping pace with the ever-changing landscape of today’s drug development. Our tagline, “Every Step of the Way,” is truly a reflection of our end-to-end support of the drug development continuum. In addition to organic growth of the animal model and diagnostics business to include genetically engineered model services and vivarium management, the company has capitalized on this rich history of scientific excellence to expand into drug discovery, safety assessment, clinical support, and manufacturing support. Serving academia, small biotech startup firms, big pharma, and industrial and agrochemical companies around the world, Charles River continues to focus on improving quality of life by helping to identify and develop compounds that prevent, treat, and cure disease.

So what’s next for one of the world’s leading CROs? According to Jim Foster, Charles River will continue its strategic growth with the aim of being closer to its clients, filling in gaps to further increase support and match services to anticipate and meet changing needs. “Responsiveness is everything,” he says. “We’re only as good as our last project. For us to be doing what we’re doing, we have to be good at what we do. We want our clients to treat us like we’re them, like our employees are theirs.” This, he says, is the mark of a trusted, valued partner who believes that together, we can improve lives.