Founded over 70 years ago, Charles River Laboratories provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies, and leading academic institutions around the globe to accelerate their research and drug development efforts.

With over 14,700 employees globally, Charles River is proud to have worked on 85% of the drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018. The laboratory services company is passionate about its role in improving the quality of people’s lives.

Charles River employees are focused on providing clients with exactly what they need to improve and expedite the discovery, early-stage development, safety assessment and safe manufacture of new therapies for the patients who need them.

Drug discovery in Essex

A truly global company with over 80 locations worldwide, Charles River has two sites in Essex: one at Spire Green in Harlow with approximately 120 employees and another at Chesterford Research Park, near Saffron Walden, which houses roughly 270 employees. These sites are part of the Charles River Discovery business and were acquired in 2014.  Prior to acquisition by Charles River, the sites were part of Argenta and BioFocus respectively, both of which were drug discovery CROs (Contract Research Organisations) that had been delivering drug discovery services for partner companies for over 14 years.

The location of both sites means Charles River is ideally positioned for a company within the life sciences sector. Chesterford Research Park counts a number of award-winning companies amongst its tenants and is located just 14 miles from Cambridge.  Meanwhile, their Spire Green site in Harlow is 10 minutes from Harlow Science Park, a state-of-the-art development which is scheduled to see its first phase of construction completed by the end of summer 2019.

In recent years, we’ve seen biopharma pipelines expand significantly. As companies add more projects focused on new modalities, they rely on strategic outsourcing partners, like Charles River. Our depth of experience, having developed over 80 preclinical candidates for our clients and having worked on 85% of the drugs approved by the FDA in 2018, means that we’re able to support those pipelines from early target identification through to IND submission.

Jackie Macritchie
Senior Managing Director
Charles River Discovery

Both Essex sites support Charles River’s partner companies in discovering novel pre-clinical drug candidates through innovative science.  Charles River employs scientists across multiple disciplines, including biology, chemistry, DMPK (Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics), structural biology and CADD (Computer aided drug design) and are supported by a range of core functions including human resources, finance, legal and information technology.

Charles River’s unique combination of integrated, multidisciplinary drug discovery capabilities in assays and platforms, coupled with broad therapeutic area expertise, allows them to deliver depth and breadth in science to progress their partners’ drug discovery programmes.  Charles River is proud to have identified 80 pre-clinical candidates for its partner companies.

Ensuring delivery of scientific excellence

Looking towards the future, Charles River is focused on continuing to build a robust portfolio of products and services for their clients. This includes consistently evaluating current market demands and analysing trends to identify spaces where they can add value.

Charles River is committed to investing in the optimum technology platforms to ensure delivery of scientific excellence to their clients.  They are both seeing and responding to a growth in the need for high quality services for the drug discovery industry.  As a result, Charles River Discovery in the UK is continually recruiting and expanding, particularly in biology. In addition to recruiting from universities, Charles River has recently created an apprenticeship programme so that it can encourage enthusiastic young scientists and foster their own talent from within.

For more information about Charles River, see here.