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    Charles River Laboratories Celebrates 70 Years

    Partner der Industrie

    When Dr. Henry Foster began his 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 of laboratory animal model, 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 New York Stock Exchange 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 (right) at the opening of the New York Stock Exchange (Source: The enclosed content is the property of NYSE Group, Inc. or its affiliates and is protected by U.S. and international copyright and trademark laws. © 2017 NYSE Group, Inc. All rights reserved.).

    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. The company’s tagline, “Every Step of the Way,” is truly a reflection of their 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 models, services and vivarium management, the company has capitalized on this rich history of scientific excellence to expand into drug discovery, safety assessment, clinical and manufacturing support. Serving academia, small biotech startup firms, big pharma, 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.

    This mission has fueled Charles River’s success, attracting talented, passionate people who come to work every day eager to face the next big challenge. Among their sizeable workforce are many who’ve been with the company for not years, but decades. The longevity of many of its employees is both a reflection of and testament to a shared, deep commitment to the organization’s goals. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Head of In Vitro Sciences, Clive Roper will celebrate 21 years. Coming to Charles River on the tail end of his postdoctoral work, Dr. Roper was drawn to an environment that championed research, innovation and collaboration, both within his own lab and with his Charles River clients. In his two decades, he has watched a company founded as an animal model business evolve to embrace the adoption of in vitro technologies as an integrative approach to improved study design. “It didn’t happen overnight,” he said, “but it is a change that has made us leaders. It reflects a mindset that is open to new ideas and yet goes back to Hank Foster’s original aim to promote and protect animal welfare.”

    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.