Charles River Laboratories, a leading drug discovery and non-clinical development company, will open a new Charles River Accelerator and Development Lab (CRADL®) location in Philadelphia’s One uCity Square in October 2023. The company’s expansion will provide research support to the region’s life sciences community to facilitate their early drug discovery and preclinical in vivo research.

CRADL® Philadelphia’s grand opening will be held from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at One uCity Square. Charles River is inviting researchers in biotech, academia, and pharma, and the professionals, incubators, and organizations who support their progress to tour the facility, with RSVPs accepted here.

“Philadelphia has established itself as a leader in cell therapy, gene therapy, and gene editing, with a high number of gene therapy development companies developing in the Greater Philadelphia region,” the company stated in its announcement. “With a robust and diverse life sciences community, the CRADL® facility will provide much-needed research space to support the area’s continued growth.”

Founded in Boston 75 years ago, and now headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts, Charles River helps pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies, and academic institutions accelerate their research and drug development efforts at every stage from target identification to go to market development. Its CRADL® facilities offer flexible space paired with expert animal husbandry and vivarium management enable researchers to quickly start in vivo studies without the time and expense of infrastructure development.

Meeting Charles River’s CGT Navigator

“At the open house, in addition to receiving a tour of the facility and learning about the vivarium, guests will also get to meet Charles River representatives working across all business units, including the large animal safety assessment division, the CDMO division, and the advanced modality testing division,” said Karen Doucette, Cell & Gene Therapy Navigator, Scientific Services, Charles River Laboratories.

“They will get a feel for the Charles River family, how we are welcoming and very community-oriented,” Doucette continued. “They will also be able to network with other like-minded individuals in the area who are also exploring the CRADL® option.”

“The announcement of the CRADL® Philadelphia opening has been very well received,” said Doucette, who has always lived, studied, and worked in the Greater Philadelphia area. “It’s this very holistic picture where we can do everything,” she said of Charles River. “And especially being in the Philadelphia area, all of the Penn spinouts – there’s Spark and Cabaletta – and all the companies in this Philadelphia area, it’s really a great hotspot for the development and the technology that’s being advanced.”

Support for Cell and Gene Therapy Research

Among the services CRADL® Philadelphia will offer researchers in its new 16,000-square-foot facility in uCity Square are:

  • Full-service rental vivarium lab space, rapidly scalable for growing study programs

  • Expert onsite technical support and full study in vivo research services available on demand

  • Veterinary oversight and stringent animal welfare under AAALAC-accredited programs

  • Study protocol management and guidance

  • Expanded access to Charles River’s full accelerated drug discovery and development service portfolio

CRADL® Philadelphia will provide opportunities to smaller companies and the startups that are coming out of the universities, according to Doucette. “That’s where a lot of the gene therapy pipeline originates, with these academics. There’s a lot of great research going on. But, the resources tend to be limited,” she said.

“Having a CRADL® in Philadelphia will give those academic groups and startup companies a place to test their assets, to see how translatable it will be to a human drug, without having to put in all of the upfront resources, building out your own lab or working with others,” she said. “You get your own place within these CRADL® vivaria that you own the asset, you can bring your people in, or we have team members that can also support you. It’s really going to give those early-stage developers a leg up on the competition elsewhere because they’ll have this resource available to start looking at that translatability.”

CRADL® Philadelphia is Charles River’s Fourth Pennsylvania Facility

The addition of Philadelphia brings the company’s total CRADL® Vivarium Network to 31 vivaria. In North America, the company also has CRADL® facilities in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. In Europe, the company has CRADL® facilities in London and Paris; in Asia, there are CRADL® locations in Chengdu, Shanghai, and Suzhou.

Adding to its network in Greater Philadelphia, Charles River has three other labs in the state:

  • An AAALAC-accredited preclinical facility in Horsham recognized for its expertise in cellular therapy safety evaluation capabilities;
  • A GMP-compliant facility offering cell banking, vaccine manufacturing, cell line characterization, and contamination testing in Malvern; and
  • A cGMP-compliant biologics testing lab in Wayne

“Greater Philadelphia’s strength in life sciences and leadership in cell and gene therapy continues to be recognized by companies who can provide the resources researchers need to move their discoveries forward,” said Claire Greenwood, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber. “Charles River has been especially impressed by the sense of collaboration and connection in the region, from the Chamber, Life Sciences PA, Wexford, the City of Hope, and others, in helping connect with the local biopharma community. We are pleased that Charles River has selected Greater Philadelphia for their latest CRADL® expansion and look forward to helping them make more connections.”

For more information about locating or expanding in Greater Philadelphia, visit the Chamber’s property search tool on the Select Greater Philadelphia website.