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Charles River Laboratories Announces Development of Nonclinical Virtual Control Groups with Sanofi to Reduce the Use of Animals in Research

Through ongoing collaboration with Sanofi, Charles River will explore use of Virtual Control Groups in nonclinical toxicology

Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. (NYSE: CRL) today announced the launch of its Virtual Control Groups (VCG) initiative with Sanofi. The companies are working together to reduce animal usage by replacing selected control group animals with selected matched virtual control animals developed using retrospective datasets. The VCG collaboration is a project guided by Charles River’s Alternative Methods Advancement Project (AMAP), an initiative focused on reducing the use of animals in research.

“Charles River is uniquely positioned to combine the science of toxicology with the power of machine learning to drive greater use of VCGs for nonclinical research across the industry,” said Shannon Parisotto, Corporate Executive Vice President, Global Discovery & Safety Assessment, Charles River. “We have an unmatched breadth of data, providing a powerful database of study parameters. By leveraging this historical information, we are able to reduce control group animals and provide clients with meaningful study results.”

A VCG is a data-driven, digital creation based on robust historical study data, parameters, and complex statistical methodology. VCGs are an established practice in some clinical trials, however the application to preclinical research is new. Charles River is partnering with internal and external stakeholders, including regulators and leaders from the biopharmaceutical industry to advance this research. Charles River and Sanofi are collaborating to pilot VCGs in nonclinical toxicology programs and explore their use.

“We are proud to work with Charles River on this important initiative,” said Philippe Detilleux, Global Head of Preclinical Safety, Sanofi. “We have an incredible opportunity to advance sustainable science by reducing our reliance on animal models, and VCGs are one way in which we are utilizing technology to make progress in this area.”

As more studies are designed using VCGs, with a myriad of industry partners, increased levels of data will support their refinement, making VCGs more suitable replacements for animals in research.

About the Alternative Methods Advancement Project (AMAP)

The Alternative Methods Advancement Project (AMAP) is a Charles River initiative dedicated to developing alternatives to reduce the use of animals in testing. As we enter the next frontier of drug development, AMAP will facilitate strategic and purposeful investing to lead the way toward a future where more patients receive needed treatments and medicines safely, swiftly, and successfully. In keeping with our commitment to the 4Rs, we are dedicated to pursuing scientific and technological innovations to explore new and exciting ways we can further reduce the use of animals in testing. The guidance of AMAP will help us align our investments, partnerships, product and service initiatives, and advocacy efforts as we focus on our goal of investing $300 million over the next five years to further enhance this critical mission and drive industry-wide adoption of alternatives.

About Charles River

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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