Charles River was founded in 1947 by Henry Foster, a young veterinarian who purchased one thousand rat cages from a Virginia farm and set up a one-man laboratory in Boston, overlooking the Charles River. In an effort to fulfil the regional need for laboratory animal models, he bred, fed, and cared for the animals and personally delivered them to local researchers.
In 1955, the company's headquarters were relocated to their current home in Wilmington, Massachusetts. The organization became an international entity in 1966 with the opening of a new animal production facility in France.
The first commercial, comprehensive genetic monitoring program was implemented by Charles River in 1981. Three years later, they were acquired by Bausch & Lomb. During this time, Henry and Jim Foster are still in charge of the company.
In 1988, the organization started to expand their portfolio to include the creation of transgenic mice and rats. In the 1990s, Charles River expanded their portfolio further. They purchased Specific Pathogen Antigen Free Avian Services and serologic diagnostic services Merck, Sharp, and Dohme in 1992 and started offering in vitro endotoxin testing two years later.
Between 1996 and 2000, the company acquired Endosafe, Inc., was bought back from Bausch & Lomb by Jim Foster, acquired Sierra Biomedical, expanded its portfolio to offer biopharmaceutical services, and went public on the New York Stock Exchange.
Charles River launched the Humane Care Imperative in 2002, designed to raise awareness and train their employees on the importance of animal welfare. The same year, they were named "Company of the Year" by The Boston Globe. The company then introduced preconditioning services in 2005 to provide their customers with study-ready animals.
In 2008, Charles River signed a ten-year contract to partner with the National Cancer Institute and opened a facility in Frederick, Maryland.
In April 2019, Charles River announced it will be ceasing its San Diego operations, moving the work to one of its sites in Northern California. In California, the company also has sites in the town of Hollister and in South San Francisco. The work done in San Diego—the breeding of rodents that scientists use to test compounds—was moved to Hollister, California.The chairman and chief executive officer is James C. Foster, the son of founder Henry Foster.
In October 2021, a Japanese subsidiary of Charles River was acquired by Jackson Laboratory for $63M USD.
Mr. William D. Barbo (Chief Commercial Officer & Corp. Exec. VP)
Mr. David Ross Smith (Sr. Financial Advisor)
Ms. Flavia H. Pease (Corp. Exec. VP & CFO)
Mr. Michael Gunnar Knell (Corp. Sr. VP & Chief Accounting Officer)
Prof. Julie Frearson Ph.D. (Corp. Sr. VP & Chief Scientific Officer)
Mr. Mark Mintz (Corp. Sr. VP & Chief Information Officer)
Todd Spencer (Corp. VP of Investor Relations)
Recognition and Awards
Mr. James C. Foster J.D. (Chairman, CEO & Pres)
Ms. Birgit Girshick (Corp. Exec. VP & COO)
Mr. Joseph W. LaPlume (Corp. Exec. VP of Corp. Devel. & Strategy)