Charles River Laboratories Reinforces Commitment to South Carolina

Operations maintain the state’s leadership in the global biopharmaceutical industry

Columbia, South Carolina, UNITED STATES

Charleston, S.C., Nov. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. is reinforcing its position as an environmental steward and its commitment to the Company’s South Carolina operations and the critical role the Charleston-based team plays in the biomedical industry. 

Most recently, Charles River has proposed a partnership with the state of South Carolina Department of Natural Resources that will reinforce the stringent regulatory oversight already in place, sustain Charles River’s work—which is critical to patient safety—and fund research to continue to ensure that horseshoe crab populations are protected and thriving.

“No company has done more to protect and preserve a healthy and growing horseshoe crab population in South Carolina’s waterways than Charles River, including supporting the banning of horseshoe crabs for bait in South Carolina,” said Foster Jordan, Corporate Senior Vice President, Charles River. “But now, a campaign by a Washington, D.C.-based special interest group is putting patients' health and the safety and the security of the global healthcare supply chain at risk in the name of environmental extremism and inaccuracy. The truth is, if we stop using horseshoe crab-derived LAL, we cannot guarantee the safety of IVs, syringes and vaccines, among many other medical products. This is an unacceptable risk. This is why we work hard every day to ensure patient safety, while also protecting the horseshoe crab.”

Horseshoe crabs play a vital role in the global healthcare system. Their blue blood provides limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL), a critical component to testing the safety of all injectable pharmaceuticals, including every approved COVID-19 vaccine. The Company’s process to obtain LAL is designed to preserve and protect horseshoe crabs. Crabs are hand-collected by fishermen licensed by the state of South Carolina and carefully handled in Charles River’s highly-controlled and monitored lab and then returned to their native waters. In recent months, the Company has been meeting with and listening to key stakeholders and working to balance the interests of human patients around the world with the need to protect and preserve local wildlife.

For more than 34 years, South Carolina’s resources and workforce have been a critical hub for the laboratory. In 2018, Charles River announced a $20 million expansion to build a new facility in West Ashley, creating over 100 new jobs in the process. Charles River’s LAL products supply the global biopharmaceutical and medical device industries with testing solutions that ensure the safety of more than 55 percent of the global supply of injectable drugs.

Innovation is a core focus of Charles River, and the Company is dedicated to developing technologies that reduce the use of LAL. This includes its FDA-licensed LAL cartridge that uses 95 percent less raw material than traditional LAL tests. The Company supports, and is working toward, the development of a safe, FDA-approved synthetic alternative that is as effective as LAL in ensuring the safety of the global biopharmaceutical supply chain.

In addition to its commitment to the state’s economy and development, Charles River has been a leader in conservation efforts. Through legislative support and education campaigns, the Company has helped horseshoe crab populations in South Carolina thrive. A 2019 Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Stock Assessment reported horseshoe crab populations are strong along the South Carolina coastline. This is a recent report backed by science. Charles River will continue to work with federal, state and local wildlife and resource management agencies to balance humanity’s need for this valuable resource with the need to protect the horseshoe crabs that provide it.


Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts. Our dedicated employees are focused on providing clients with exactly what they need to improve and expedite the discovery, early-stage development and safe manufacture of new therapies for the patients who need them. To learn more about our unique portfolio and breadth of services, visit


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